This chapter presents a preliminary discussion of potential impacts of climate change on nomadic pastoralists on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Both climate model projections and observations suggest that (1) the QTP is becoming warmer and (2) precipitation is increasing. Evidence also suggests that (3) glaciers on the QTP are declining and (4) the permafrost is degrading. Nevertheless, little is known as to how climate change will affect nomadic pastoralists although environmental variability is likely to increase, which may again exacerbate production risks. Pastoral risk management strategies, such as mobility, may thus increase in importance. It is, however, difficult to translate changes in important climate measures like precipitation and temperature to effects on pastoralists and livestock since they mainly affect livestock indirectly via their effect on vegetation productivity. Consequently, to increase our understanding of climate change-related effects on pastoral adaptations, satellite-based measures directly linked to both vegetation characteristics and climatic variables should be utilized in future studies rather than, for example, overall changes in precipitation and temperature. Finally, official policies that constantly introduce reforms that reduce pastoral flexibility represent a far more significant threat for nomadic pastoralists on the QTP than climate change because they may result in the wholesale extinction of the pastoral culture.
Warg Næss, M. (2012), "Chapter 6 Tibetan Nomads Facing an Uncertain Future: Impacts of Climate Change on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau", Lamadrid, A. and Kelman, I. (Ed.) Climate Change Modeling For Local Adaptation In The Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region (Community, Environment and Disaster Risk Management, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 95-118. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2040-7262(2012)0000011012Download as .RIS
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