Fragile rural livelihoods have long faced challenges from changing demographic dynamics, increasing competition for water, and natural resource degradation. The threat from these factors has intensified due to the current climate change scenario as, even existing entitlements to water are jeopardized by the falling availability, and deteriorating quality of water resources. In recent decades, in mountainous regions in particular, the hydrological characteristics of watersheds seem to have undergone substantial changes as a result of extensive land use changes due to deforestation, agricultural intensification and urbanization. This has led to frequent hydrological disasters, enhanced variability in rainfall and run-off, extensive reservoir sedimentation and pollution of mountain lakes (Ramakrishnan 1999). In the Indian subcontinent as well, local effects of global warming, and its impact on the hydrological cycle, and nature of hydrological events, have posed serious threats to mountainous regions (Mall et al. 2006). These events could negatively affect the availability as well as quality of water in the coming decade. This would pose a serious threat to the livelihoods of people, as in the absence of a strong industrial base the primary sources of income in mountainous regions are agriculture and livestock rearing. This study aims to assess the degree of vulnerability of rural communities to climate change in the Eastern Himalayan region of India. The Eastern Himalayan region of India comprises of eight north eastern states, namely Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The focus of the study is to understand the links between water, climate change, and rural livelihoods using a multidisciplinary methodological framework.
A planning grant will be used to assess the degree of socioeconomic vulnerability of rural communities to climate change in Sikkim, an Indian state in the eastern Himalayas. On this basis, a proposal will be developed to study the links between water, climate change, and rural livelihoods using a multidisciplinary methodological framework. Studies linking water use, livelihood security and adaptive measures of indigenous communities in mountainous areas of the world reveal that high altitude ecosystems are very sensitive to global warming. However, the approach of most studies has been either purely technical or social or economic. In contrast, the proposed study will adopt a multidisciplinary approach that will also go beyond the conventional assumption that water is used only for either consumption purposes or irrigation by considering multiple productive uses of water. The team for the planning grant will include anthropologists and economists from two institutions in Sweden and India that are recognized for their work on climate change issues. The grant will facilitate a better exchange of ideas between team members through face-to-face meetings, enable preliminary trips to survey the field, and allow the organization of a workshop held to communicate the objectives of the future, collaborative project to stakeholders, including state-level decision makers and community representatives.
The north eastern states of India are gifted with rich natural beauty, serenity and exotic flora and fauna that are invaluable resources for the development of tourism in these regions. The thick evergreen forests, cascading waterfalls, colorful tribes and their traditional customs represents nature in its truest form unexplored and unexploited. Thus a travel to these regions promises a plethora of pleasant places and experience. Tourism is also considered as one of the major sectors which contribute significantly to the Indian economy with number of tourist arrivals increasing every year. It generates huge amount of revenue and increases the scope of employment opportunities thereby influencing the livelihood of the local people.
Climate plays a key role in influencing the tourism sector. One of the key attractions for tourists while deciding the preferred destination is the favorable climatic condition at that place. There have been few studies around the world which examines the relationship between climate and tourism. But there is no proper quantitative study on the impact of climate change on tourism sector for northeastern regions. The intent of this study is to partially fill this gap by carrying out a study on the impact of climate change on tourism, which is a people oriented climate influenced sector. It will be based on secondary data.
The study has two main objectives: