Vulnerability, well-being, and livelihood adaptation under changing environmental conditions: a case from mountainous region of Pakistan

Abstract

Climatic changes pose serious risks to the rural community’s livelihoods of many developing countries whereas people in mountainous regions are exposed to multiple hazards with limited livelihood resources and heavy dependence on natural resources. The objective of the current study is to assess the livelihood practices and adaptive capacity of a mountainous region of Pakistan, the Balakot, where people are highly vulnerable to climatic changes. The study uses a triangulation method to explore various issues and options of climate change risks sand adaptation and impact of well-being on resilience capacity and livelihood strategies. For this purpose, ten focus group discussions (FGDs) with carefully selected key informants and structured interviews with randomly selected 200 local households are conducted to evaluate different hazards and their associated livelihood effects. It is observed that the changing climate has significantly influenced livelihoods of the local community in the recent past through resource degradation, gradual unavailability of sufficient basic services (quantity and quality of drinking water, crop food diversity, fuel wood, and non-timber forest products), low agricultural productivity, and social inequity viz. income distribution, health, education, and food storage. Such a brunt is felt disproportionately more by poor households due to their low adaptive capacity to climate change with constrained livelihood resources. The study emphasizes the need for targeted efforts to move from coping strategies to adaptations among people considering their social inequalities. Timely information sharing, livelihood diversification and preservation of livelihood resources such as crop and forest production, livestock grazing, creating awareness on the pace, and pattern of climate change in the region and subsequent role of adaptation options are major interventions that should be emphasized by the public bodies.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    See for detail: HIES (Household Integrated Economic Survey) – 2015–2016 (Table 3.5B) for rural category. The report is available at http://www.pbs.gov.pk/sites/default/files/pslm/publications/hies15-16/write up 15-16-HIES-final.pdf

  2. 2.

    See for detail: http://www.pmd.gov.pk/Observatories/

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Correspondence to Muhammad Ansar Farooq or Azhar Abbas.

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Shahzad, L., Tahir, A., Sharif, F. et al. Vulnerability, well-being, and livelihood adaptation under changing environmental conditions: a case from mountainous region of Pakistan. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 26748–26764 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-05880-x

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Keywords

  • Development
  • Degradation
  • Natural resources
  • Mitigation
  • Assessment
  • Vulnerable