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Climate Research

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CR 19:109-117 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/cr019109

Climate change in the Western Himalayas of India: a study of local perception and response

Neeraj Vedwan*, Robert E. Rhoades

The University of Georgia, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology, 250A Baldwin Hall, Jackson St., Athens, Georgia 30602-1619, USA

ABSTRACT: This study examines how apple farmers in the western Himalayas of India perceive climatic change. This is done by comparing the locally idealized traditional weather cycle with climate change as perceived by the farmers of the region. We use snowfall and rainfall data from 1962-1996 to measure the accuracy of perceptions. Although climate change is usually described by farmers as the temporal displacement of the weather cycle, the changes themselves still are not perceived as altering the idealized weather calendar. Most importantly, perception of climate change is structured by knowledge of crop-climate interaction and by differential apple performance outcomes associated with the changed conditions.

KEY WORDS: Perceptions · Farmer decision-making · Traditional weather calendars · Apple · Himalayas

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