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Aligning Trends in Climatic Parameters and Nomads’ Indigenous Knowledge about Climate Change in Central Iran (Case Study: Semirom Town)

Razieh SaboohiaDepartment of Rangeland and Watershed Management, Gorgan University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

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Hossein BaraniaDepartment of Rangeland and Watershed Management, Gorgan University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

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Morteza KhodagholibRangeland Research Division, Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization, Tehran, Iran

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Ahmad Abedi SarvestanicFaculty of Agriculture Management, Gorgan University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

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Asghar TahmasebidHuman Geography Group, Faculty of Geographical Sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

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Hart Nadav FeuerfDivision of Natural Resource Economics, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

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Abstract

Nomadic pastoral communities are considered some of the most vulnerable to climate change. While Indigenous knowledge can play an effective role in mitigating or responding to some impacts of climate change, the extent of their capacity to adapt their livestock and rangeland management is under question. This research aims to assess the scope and applicability of climate change–related knowledge acquired in the management of summer rangeland, with a case study in Semirom, Isfahan Province, Iran. To do so, objective weather conditions (precipitation, minimum temperatures, and maximum temperatures) were evaluated using the Mann–Kendall nonparametric test and compared with subjective evaluations by nomad community members. Specifically, the study targeted a community of 7700 members of the Qashqai, a conglomeration of nomadic tribes in Iran. Their understanding of the weather was evaluated using focus groups and self-administered questionnaires, with a descriptive approach to data analysis. The findings of the climatic investigation revealed a possible shift in the climate in the study area, particularly in winter and autumn. The findings of subjective evaluation showed similar changes in wind, precipitation, and temperature to be the main characteristics of climate change in the region, with about 90% of informants directly citing decreasing precipitation and increasing temperature and wind speeds. The community evaluation also highlighted some adaptations to climate change, such as delays in beginning the seasonal migration, increased reliance on concrete homes, reservoir construction, decreasing livestock yields, and increasing diversification of resources to feed livestock. Understanding the perceptions of nomadic pastoralists, their meteorological basis, and ongoing climate adaptations can facilitate governmental planning.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: R. Saboohi, razieh_saboohi@yahoo.com

Abstract

Nomadic pastoral communities are considered some of the most vulnerable to climate change. While Indigenous knowledge can play an effective role in mitigating or responding to some impacts of climate change, the extent of their capacity to adapt their livestock and rangeland management is under question. This research aims to assess the scope and applicability of climate change–related knowledge acquired in the management of summer rangeland, with a case study in Semirom, Isfahan Province, Iran. To do so, objective weather conditions (precipitation, minimum temperatures, and maximum temperatures) were evaluated using the Mann–Kendall nonparametric test and compared with subjective evaluations by nomad community members. Specifically, the study targeted a community of 7700 members of the Qashqai, a conglomeration of nomadic tribes in Iran. Their understanding of the weather was evaluated using focus groups and self-administered questionnaires, with a descriptive approach to data analysis. The findings of the climatic investigation revealed a possible shift in the climate in the study area, particularly in winter and autumn. The findings of subjective evaluation showed similar changes in wind, precipitation, and temperature to be the main characteristics of climate change in the region, with about 90% of informants directly citing decreasing precipitation and increasing temperature and wind speeds. The community evaluation also highlighted some adaptations to climate change, such as delays in beginning the seasonal migration, increased reliance on concrete homes, reservoir construction, decreasing livestock yields, and increasing diversification of resources to feed livestock. Understanding the perceptions of nomadic pastoralists, their meteorological basis, and ongoing climate adaptations can facilitate governmental planning.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: R. Saboohi, razieh_saboohi@yahoo.com
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