CR 69:261-273 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01407

Climate change in the North China Plain: smallholder farmer perceptions and adaptations in Quzhou County, Hebei Province

David Chen1, Joann K. Whalen2,*

1Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and 2Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Macdonald Campus, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue QC H9X 3V9, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Climate change is expected to negatively affect production of winter wheat and maize in the North China Plain (NCP). This study examines the perceptions and adaptations to climate change of farmers in Quzhou County in the NCP. Structured interviews were held with 37 smallholder farmers to determine their perceptions of and adaptations to climate change in the past 30 yr. Historical meteorological data (1980 to 2010) showed a significant increase in mean annual temperature of 1.7°C over 30 yr and no significant change in mean annual rainfall, but farmers perceive increasing temperature and decreasing rainfall during this period. We hypothesize that this leads farmers to irrigate more, due to their perception that the changing temperature and precipitation regime is increasing crop water stress. Further increase in annual temperature predicted for the NCP will intensify irrigation and deplete the groundwater reserves used for irrigation in this area. Farmers in the NCP require decision-making tools to develop sustainable irrigation practices for long-term adaptation to climate change.


KEY WORDS: Agriculture · Climate change · Meteorological data · Participatory methods


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Cite this article as: Chen D, Whalen JK (2016) Climate change in the North China Plain: smallholder farmer perceptions and adaptations in Quzhou County, Hebei Province. Clim Res 69:261-273. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01407

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