Human Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 399–409 | Cite as

Analyzing Herder Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change: A Case Study from an Ecologically Fragile Area in Inner Mongolia, People’s Republic of China

  • Shuhao Tan
  • Tingyu Li
  • Lynn Huntsinger


Based on 224 face-to-face household surveys in an ecologically fragile grazing area in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, this study analyzes herder (pastoralist) adaptive capacity for coping with climate change. The Composite Indicator Framework Method and Entropy Weighting Method were applied to calculate each herder’s Adaptive Capacity Index (ACI) based on 16 indicators from seven determinants of adaptive willingness and adaptive capital. Results show that herders have an average ACI value of 0.40. Classifying herders into three groups of relatively high, medium, and low ACI values, we find that financial capital and social capital are the most significant determinants of herder adaptive capacity. Improving financial services and building herder social capital would be the most effective ways of enhancing adaptive capacity for coping with climate change. The methods and indicators developed can be generalized to other similar areas to facilitate better policy interventions for reducing poverty and improving rangeland management.


Ecologically fragile areas Climate change Adaptive capacity index Herder poverty reduction Rangeland management Inner Mongolia Peoples Republic of China 



This research was supported by the Research Funds of Renmin University of China (16XNI004). We thank colleagues and students from Renmin University of China and Inner Mongolia University for their participation in the field surveys.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agricultural Economics and Rural DevelopmentRenmin University of ChinaBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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