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How do farmers perceive climate change? A systematic review

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In this paper, a systematic literature review was conducted to synthesize understanding on farmers’ perception on climate change. Farmers’ perception of climate change is conceptualized as comprising of three dimensions—first, as farmers’ “awareness”; second, “conceptual understanding”; and third, the “experience” of climate change. The review included 162 papers published during the period January 2000 to July 2019. The highest number of studies was conducted in Africa, followed by Asia. A large majority of farmers report being aware of climate change. However, only a few studies elicit the difference between climate variability and climate change from farmers. A negligible number of studies attempt to identify the role of agricultural activities in greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Furthermore, authors compare farmers’ perception with meteorological evidence, which is more aligned in terms of change in “temperature” rather than “precipitation.” The insights from the review provide guidance on conceptualization and operationalization of the variable “farmers’ perception of climate change” for future studies.

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  1. According to World Meteorological Organization (WMO), “climate variability” is defined as variations in the mean state and other statistics of the climate on all temporal and spatial scales, beyond individual weather events. Climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). In essence, climate variability looks at changes that occur within smaller time frames, such as a month, a season or a year, whereas climate change considers changes that occur over a longer period of time, typically over decades or longer. A key difference between climate variability and change is in persistence of “anomalous” conditions—when events that used to be rare occur more frequently, or vice versa.


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Correspondence to Madhuri.

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Madhuri, Sharma, U. How do farmers perceive climate change? A systematic review. Climatic Change 162, 991–1010 (2020).

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