Climate change is expected to place significant strains on natural resources, in particular for managing water, while strongly impacting small scale and traditional agriculture practices. In Bolivia and Nepal, home to some of the world’s largest and poorest mountain populations, rural-urban and foreign out-migration is producing a feminisation of the rural population.
Women and elderly are thus left to deal with adapting to changing environmental conditions, alongside managing daily life: maintaining terraces, irrigation canals, stabilising slopes, etc. Few studies only have analysed the consequences of changing demographics on land management in mountains.
This project will address this research gap by exploring the interface between people dynamics with mountain dynamics in a context of climate change. The main research question upon which this trans-disciplinary study is based: How is land management in mountains being affected by three main factors: migration, climate changes (temperature and rainfall patterns) and hazard events in Cochabamba region of Bolivia and Dhankuta District in Eastern Nepal.
The hypothesis is that climate change is creating water management problems, increasing mountain hazards and out-migration, leading to a feminisation of mountain populations who are less able to address needed changes in agricultural practices, water management, landslides and flooding.
The expected results will be used to develop practical tools for guiding decisions on promising sustainable land management practices for agricultural advisors, disaster risk and water managers, local NGO’s and policy makers, in order to effectively support female headed households and other land users and finally lead to more sustainable livelihoods and well-functioning ecosystems.