Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 1167–1176 | Cite as

Farmers perception and awareness of climate change: a case study from Kanchandzonga Biosphere Reserve, India

  • Gopal Shukla
  • Ashok Kumar
  • Nazir A. Pala
  • Sumit Chakravarty


This study was an attempt to document the indigenous Lepcha people’s perception on climate change-related issues in five villages of Dzongu Valley located in Kanchandzonga Biosphere Reserve, India. Personal structured questionnaire was used for interview of 300 households selected randomly. Results showed that 85 % of the households have perceived climate change, mainly in the form of increasing temperature and unpredictable pattern of rainfall. In terms of climate change-related events, 75 % of the households believed that wind is becoming warmer and stronger over the past years. Majority of the households have observed changes in crop phenology, while about 90 % agreed that the incidences of insect pest and diseases have increased over the years, especially in their large cardamom crop. A comparison of community perceptions, climatic observations and scientific literature shows that the community have correctly perceived temperature change, unpredictable occurrence of rainfall and increased incidence of insect pest and diseases, which have largely influenced the experiences and perceptions regarding climate-related events. Results reveal that households have adopted the use of locally available material as mulches against soil erosion, to conserve the soil moisture and manage soil temperature. Majority of the households have diversified their cropping system through traditional agroforestry systems and intercropping. Unfortunately, most of the households were unaware about the scientific sustainable approaches to combating impact of climate change. This documentation will aid in assessing the needs in terms of actions and information for facilitating climate change-related adaptation locally in Sikkim state of India.


Sikkim Himalayas Climate change Indigenous knowledge Farmers perception Lepcha community 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gopal Shukla
    • 1
  • Ashok Kumar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nazir A. Pala
    • 1
  • Sumit Chakravarty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ForestryUttar Banga Krishi ViswavidyalayaPundibari, Cooch BeharIndia
  2. 2.Central Institute of Sub-Tropical HorticultureLucknowIndia

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