Vahid Karimi, Ezatollah Karami, Marzieh Keshavarz
Rangeland Ecology and Management 71 (2), 175-184, (1 March 2018) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2017.09.006
KEYWORDS: Adaptation, adaptation strategies, climate variability and change, Iran, livestock producers, vulnerability
Rangeland-based animal husbandry has been frequently exposed to the vagaries of weather. While the current rates of climate variability are unprecedented in arid and semiarid regions, climate change is expected to put further pressure on rangelands with medium- and poor-quality forages and increase the vulnerability of households who mainly depend on livestock production. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that livestock producers increase their resilience to climate variability or change. However, few field-based studies have focused on simultaneous investigation of both vulnerability and adaptation of livestock keepers to climate-related risks. To fill this gap, a field-based research study was conducted in southwest Iran. A survey of 274 herder families, selected using a cluster sampling technique, revealed low, medium and high levels of vulnerability, which were principally distinguished by various degrees of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Further, this study identified the main adaptation strategies employed by the herders of this region (i.e., purchasing fodder; rotational grazing; raising a mixed-herd, on-farm occupation; and postharvest grazing). Results indicated that most herder families applied traditional adaptation strategies in response to climate variability. Findings revealed that herders had to reduce their livestock due to low adaptability. Loan term, purchasing insurance, level of exposure, income, experience, response efficacy, and knowledge were the major determinants of the herders' adaptation decisions. To increase the resilience of livestock producers against climate change, restructuring traditional livestock production systems, producing participatory knowledge and information for sustainable management of rangelands, and designing or redesigning effective adaptation strategies are required.