Changing climate - Changing livelihood: Smallholder's perceptions and adaption strategies

Christoph Funk*, Archana Raghavan Sathyan, Peter Winker, Lutz Breuer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Experts expect that climate change will soon have a severe impact on the lives of farmers in the region surrounding Kerala, India. This region, which is known for its monsoon climate (which involves a distinct temporal and spatial variation in rainfall), has experienced a decrease in annual rainfall over the last century. This study is aimed at investigating how smallholder farmers perceive climate change and at identifying the methods that these smallholders use to adapt to climate change. We use data collected from a survey of 215 households to compare the climate vulnerability of three watershed communities in Kerala. We find that the farmers perceive substantial increases in both temperature and the unpredictability of monsoons; this is in accordance with actual observed weather trends. The selection of effective adaptation strategies is one of the key challenges that smallholders face as they seek to reduce their vulnerability. The surveyed households simultaneously use various adaptation methods, including information and communication technology, crop and farm diversification, social networking through cooperatives, and soil and water conservation measures. The results of a binary regression model reveal that the household head's age, education and gender, as well as the farm's size and the household's size, assets, livestock ownership, poverty status and use of extension services, are all significantly correlated with the households' choices regarding adaptations to cope with climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109702
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


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