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How do Indigenous and local knowledge systems respond to climate change?

Ruxandra Popovici, Independent Researcher, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Andre G. de L. Moraes, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Zhao Ma, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Laura Zanotti, Department of Anthropology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Keith A Cherkauer, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Anna E Erwin, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Katy E Mazer, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Edwin F Bocardo Delgado, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional de San Agustín, Arequipa, Peru
José P Pinto Cáceres, Facultad de Agronoma, Universidad Nacional de San Agustí­n, Arequipa, Peru
Pranay Ranjan, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Linda S Prokopy, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-12481-260327

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Abstract

Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) systems are critical for achieving biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, and other environmental goals. However, ILK systems around the world are increasingly threatened by multiple stressors. Our study assesses the effect of climate change on ILK held by crop farmers in Peru’s Colca Valley. We collected qualitative data on farmers’ ILK through semi-structured interviews, which we supplemented with climatological trend analysis in four Colca Valley districts. We found that shifts in the rainy season together with warmer weather affected farmers’ ILK, which was less effective for informing crop planting and irrigation practices in the context of climate uncertainty and unpredictability. Changing and uncertain ILK poses obstacles to adaptation strategies that require long-term institution building from local resource users, who may prioritize short-term solutions addressing urgent needs.

Key words

adaptation; climate change; community-based natural resource management; coproduction; Indigenous and local knowledge; institutions; Peru

Copyright © 2021 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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