Understanding how rural communities cope with climate change

Understanding how rural communities cope with climate change

20.02.2014, Thursday to 21.02.2014, Friday

Understanding how rural communities cope with climate change: an Indo-Us Science and Technology Forum

In an effort to keep abreast of on-ground impacts of climate change on agriculture and rural communities in India, presage future scenarios on coping and adaptation, and build collaborative efforts for applied research between researchers from diverse disciplines,ATREE hosted a two-day Indo-US bilateral workshop on Adaptation of rural communities to climate change: Bridging the gap between academia and community workers and identifying research needs in Bengaluru on 20 and 21 Feb 2014. Nineteen participants-physical scientists, social scientists, and non-governmental organizations-from the US and India shared their research and experience on climate change adaptation issues in three technical sessions and two panel discussions.

The technical sessions spanned questions on:

  • Climate change in India: trends, projections, impacts on ecosystems
  • Climate change and rural communities in India: livelihood impacts and adaptation
  • Working with communities: Current initiatives and immediate research needs


In these sessions, scientists elaborated on how climate and crop models, and broad-scale remote sensing might be used to understand climate change impacts on agriculture. Researchers engaged with local communities, practitioners, and non-governmental organizations discussed current on-the-ground initiatives on climate change adaptation, and identified research efforts needed to provide useful information to affected communities.

The panel discussions, held over the two days, were more exploratory and sought insights on modeling climate change impacts, identifying research gaps and uncertainties, and addressing issues of adaptation and vulnerability on the ground.The discussants identified a need for fine-scale climate and crop modeling, as well as effective communication with rural communities to adapt to climate change against the backdrop of other demographic and market forces.

The participants to this workshop travelled from Columbia University, Directorate of Water Management, George Washington University, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Indian Institute of Science, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, AzimPremji University, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Foundation for Ecological Security, IIT Bombay, The Energy and Resources Institute, Watershed Organization Trust, Yale University and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. The workshop was supported through an award made by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) to principal investigators Dr. HariniNagendra (ATREE and AzimPremji University, Bengaluru, India) and Drs. Ruth DeFries and PinkiMondal (Columbia University, New York, US).

The workshop was productiveas a platform for exchanging ideas, sharing and disseminating knowledge and methodology, and building a network for collaborative research. As per the organizers, such collaborative efforts are critical for addressing environmental issues such as food security, water scarcity, forest management, and adaptive capacity building in the wake of projected climate change.