Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1121–1132 | Cite as

Livelihood vulnerability approach to assessing climate change impacts on mixed agro-livestock smallholders around the Gandaki River Basin in Nepal

  • Jeeban Panthi
  • Suman Aryal
  • Piyush Dahal
  • Parashuram Bhandari
  • Nir Y. Krakauer
  • Vishnu Prasad Pandey
Original Article


Climate change vulnerability depends upon various factors and differs between places, sectors and communities. People in developing countries whose subsistence livelihood depends mainly upon agriculture and livestock production are identified as particularly vulnerable. Nepal, where the majority of people are in a mixed agro-livestock system, is identified as the world’s fourth most vulnerable country to climate change. However, there is limited knowledge on how vulnerable mixed agro-livestock smallholders are and how their vulnerability differs across different ecological regions in Nepal. This study aims to test two vulnerability assessment indices, livelihood vulnerability index and IPCC vulnerability index, around the Gandaki River Basin of central Nepal. A total of 543 households practicing mixed agro-livestock were surveyed from three districts, namely Dhading, Syangja and Kapilvastu representing three major ecological zones: mountain, mid-hill and Terai (lowland). Data on socio-demographics, livelihood determinants, social networks, health, food and water security, natural disasters and climate variability were collected and combined into the indices. Both indices differed for mixed agro-livestock smallholders across the three districts, with Dhading scoring as the most vulnerable and Syangja the least. Substantial variation across the districts was observed in components, sub-components and three dimensions (exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity) of vulnerability. The findings help in designing site-specific intervention strategies to reduce vulnerability of mixed agro-livestock smallholders to climate change.


Climate change Mixed agro-livestock Nepal Smallholders Vulnerability 



Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), the government of Nepal and the UNISDR are highly acknowledged for providing the observed meteorological data and natural disaster events, respectively. Field enumerators from The Small Earth Nepal (SEN) and Tribhuvan University are thanked. This work is part of a collaborative research project supported by the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Adapting Livestock Systems to Climate Change at Colorado State University under sub-award 9650-32. All statements made are the views of the authors and not the opinions of the funders or the US government.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10113_2015_833_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 25 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeeban Panthi
    • 1
  • Suman Aryal
    • 2
  • Piyush Dahal
    • 1
  • Parashuram Bhandari
    • 3
  • Nir Y. Krakauer
    • 4
  • Vishnu Prasad Pandey
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.The Small Earth Nepal (SEN)KathmanduNepal
  2. 2.International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences, and Faculty of Business, Education, Law and ArtsUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  3. 3.Central Department of Environmental ScienceTribhuvan UniversityKirtipur, KathmanduNepal
  4. 4.Department of Civil Engineering and NOAA-CRESTThe City College of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Asian Institute of Technology and Management (AITM)Lalitpur/PatanNepal
  6. 6.Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)Klong LuangThailand

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