Agroecology and Agricultural Development

Assessing the Potential of Agroforestry for Climate Change Adaptation: A Case Study from Lamjung, Nepal

  • JOSHI Rajeev , 1, * ,
  • TAMANG Gyanu Maya 2 ,
  • BHANDARI Prativa 3 ,
  • SHARMA Bharat 4 ,
  • JOSHI Dikshya 5 ,
  • BHUSAL Shushma 1
  • 1. College of Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Forestry, Agriculture and Forestry University, Katari, Udayapur 56310, Nepal
  • 2. Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University, Pokhara Campus, Pokhara 33700, Nepal
  • 3. Division Forest Office, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Jumla 21200, Nepal
  • 4. Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248001, India
  • 5. Faculty of Agriculture, Far-Western University, Tikapur, Kailali 10901, Nepal
*JOSHI Rajeev, E-mail:

Received date: 2022-11-20

  Accepted date: 2023-05-20

  Online published: 2024-03-14


Agroforestry systems present multiple benefits which include enrichment of soil quality via the use of fertilizer trees, provision of a micro climate due to tree canopies and generation of forest products such as firewood and other medicinal outputs. Agroforestry helps in better land management, livelihood diversification and to increase the land productivity. However, the debate on the role of agroforestry to help as a climate change adaption strategy has been increasing among the policy makers and other stakeholders. The purpose of this study was to assess the potential of agroforestry as a climate change adaptation strategy. The data were primarily collected from 120 respondents in Taksar of Lamjung District through questionnaire survey. A Chi-square test and binary logistic model were used to analyze the factors influencing household choice of adaptation strategies to climate change. Similarly, regular triangulation and verification of the obtained data were made through interviews, discussions and observations followed by the analysis of documents. The study reveals that the farmers adopt many strategies in response to climate change. These strategies include crop-livestock diversification (71%), use of improved varieties of crops, fertilizers and pesticides (73%), agroforestry (68%), diversification of income generating activities (72%), change in crop calendar (57%) and multiple cropping strategies (67%). From the Chi-square test and binary logistic model, it was found that “farming experience” and “educational level” along with “farm size” and “gender” have a significant role on climate change adaptation strategies. Agroforestry possesses different benefits like increased catchment for rivers (79.2%), improved micro-climate (80.8%), increased wood products (71.7%), increased food outputs (83.3%), improved livestock health and livestock products (77.5%), improved soil fertility rate (84.2%) and diversification of livelihood options (82.2%). Given the findings, the study concludes that agroforestry is an approach to agricultural production that can reduce the impacts of climate change on local environment. The major recommendation from this study is that promotion and adoption of agroforestry can help local communities as an adaptation option to climate change impacts.

Cite this article

JOSHI Rajeev , TAMANG Gyanu Maya , BHANDARI Prativa , SHARMA Bharat , JOSHI Dikshya , BHUSAL Shushma . Assessing the Potential of Agroforestry for Climate Change Adaptation: A Case Study from Lamjung, Nepal[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2024 , 15(2) : 280 -292 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2024.02.004

1 Introduction

Climate change indicates to a transformation in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically a decade or longer (Rahman and Lateh, 2017). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcing as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions, and persistent anthropo- genic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use (IPCC, 2012). Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850 (Mohammed et al., 2018). The period from 1983 to 2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years in the Northern Hemisphere. The globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature data as calculated by a linear trend show a warming of 0.85 (from 0.65 to 1.06 ℃) over the period 1880 to 2012 (IPCC, 2014). The effect of climate change is more severe in developing countries than in developed countries. As a developing country, Nepal has a negligible share i.e., less than 0.02% in global greenhouse gases emissions (Gössling, 2000). However, Nepal consistently ranks among the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change (Khanal and Pradhan, 2021). The impacts of climate change is more severe here in Nepal because of the geographical and climatic conditions, high dependence on diverse and vulnerable ecosystems for natural resources and lack of resources to cope with the changing climate (Pokhrel, 2020). The data trend from 1975 to 2005 shows that the mean annual temperature has been increasing by 0.06 ℃ while the mean rainfall has been decreasing by 3.7 mm (-3.2%) per month per decade (MoPE, 2012). Similarly, mean annual temperature is predicted to be increased between 1.3 ℃ to 3.8 ℃ by the 2060’s and 1.8 ℃ to 5.8 ℃ by the 2090’s while annual precipitation could reduce by the range of 10% to 20% across the country (MoPE, 2010).
Out of 4 main occupation types recorded by the census of 2011, skilled agriculture, forestry and fishery work is ranked to be the first one followed by elementary occupation, service and sales work and craft and related trade work (CBS, 2014). Agriculture is the major sector of Nepalese economy. It provides employment opportunities to 66% of the total population and contributes about 34.7% in the GDP with 13% of the total foreign trade of the country (DOA, 2018). Agroforestry practice is the purposeful growing of trees and crops in interacting combination, began to attain prominence in the late 1970s, when the international scientific community embraced its potentials in the tropics and recognized it as a practice in search of science (Nair, 2012). Agroforestry is now receiving increasing attention as a sustainable land-management option over world because of its ecological, economic and social attributes as it was recognized for solving problems related to deterioration of family farms, increased soil erosion, surface and ground water problems and increasing attention as a sustainable land- management option (Peri et al., 2016). Agroforestry is a climate-smart production system and considered more resilient than mono-cropping (Charles et al., 2014). Climate change is projected to affect agricultural and natural ecosystems around the world, and there is no reason to expect that agroforestry systems will be spared (Luedeling et al., 2014). As impacts of climate change have become apparent around the world, adaptation has attracted increasing attention (Mimura et al., 2015). Adaptation to climate change is two-step process: First, the household must perceive that the climate is changing and then respond to changes through adaptation (Deressa et al., 2009). Adaptation to climate change is transitioning from a phase of awareness to the construction of actual strategies and plans in societies (robust evidence, high agreement). The impacts of climate change are expected to be particularly severe in the developing world and among marginalized communities because of limited adaptive capacity (Mimura et al., 2015). As an adaptation option sustainable agroforestry practice can be potential for protecting ecosystems and for livelihood, and creating foundation for economic and social development (Mangala and Makoto, 2014).
In addition, agroforestry program is one of the most successful and participatory activity at the local level to manage forest resources for improving the livelihood of people (Nath et al., 2010). Due to climate change, forestry, agriculture, fresh water and biodiversity are facing various adverse impacts in Nepal (Malla, 2008). Thus, it is equally important to explore out the climate change events and adaptation strategies. Agroforestry is a traditional practice in Taksar. But the people residing here practice it without selecting the desired species of agroforestry systems and without maintaining hedgerows (Pandit et al., 2014). There is need to examine the role of agroforestry as climate change adaptation measure in Taksar with some facts and figures. It is essential that we develop the effective adaptation strategies on lessening the adverse impacts of climate change. In Nepal, research has been conducted on agroforestry and forestry or agriculture for their economic benefits. Numerous studies have been undertaken in the field of agroforestry and its potential as an adaptation strategy to the negative impacts of climate change (Bhandari et al., 2021). However, there is insufficient literature on the potential of agroforestry in combating effects of climate change. More information on contribution of agroforestry in livelihood improvement, better adaptive strategies for future along with the existing traditional knowledge is required for gaining optimum profit from agroforestry and balance the ecosystem as well. According to National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) project, Lamjung District has been ranked very high in landslide vulnerability index (0.787-1.000) and GLOF vulnerability index (0.911-1.000) (MoPE, 2010). This study could help decision makers to attract their attention to undergo suitable adaptation strategies and decrease the vulnerability ranking of the district. Therefore, “Assessing the Potential of Agroforestry for Climate Change Adaptation” was explored in Taksar of Lamjung District. This study was conducted to know the successfulness of the farmers who incorporated the agroforestry having all the desirable characteristics and to build enthusiasm in other farmers who preferred to stick onto practicing the same old method of farming. Along with that, knowledge of the adaptation methods and factors affecting households’ choice of adaptation strategies enhance policies directed toward tackling the challenges that climate change is imposing on Nepalese farmers. Thus, this research was carried out to investigate the potential of agroforestry practice as an adaptation strategy to cope with the changing climate threats.

2 Materials and methods

The study area was selected from middle mountain region of Nepal having subtropical and warm temperate climatic region. The study area is Taksar (Madhya Nepal-Ward 2) falls under Gandaki Province of Lamjung District at Madi River Basin (Fig. 1). Taksar joins with Golandi Khola to the east, Kunchha area to the west, Deuralidanda area to the north and Ristikhola to the south. District road connects this area from other parts of the country. The geographical extension of the study area is 84°15′59″E to 84°19′33″E longitude and 28°5′46″N to 28°9′30″N latitude. Naturally, general slope is south facing having higher elevation to the north and lower to the south. Narrow river terraces along the tributaries and gently sloping cultivated land and most of the other parts are moderately to steeply sloping hillside. Traditional intensive subsistence farming with irrigated paddy field at lower river terraces and rain-fed maize field in the upper hill slope area is common in Nepal and this area is also not an exception.
Fig. 1 Map of the study area

2.1 Research design

For conducting this study, a descriptive survey design was adopted to gather data for analysis. Descriptive survey is a technique whose main objective is to collect and examine data to establish certain information (Kombo and Tromp, 2006). Given its efficiency in data collection, this method was preferred. In addition, the design was used because the method does not in any way compromise the population under study.

2.2 Methods of data collection

Questionnaires survey, interviews and observations were used to collect the data. A total of 120 households were randomly selected from Taksar for the purpose of conducting household survey. Individual respondent from each household (maximum above 30 years old) were chosen for questionnaire survey. Household questionnaire survey was used as one of the tools to gather perception data. Assigned number of samples were undertaken to gain insight into the perceived changes witnessed by locals of Taksar. The written questionnaire was characterized by both open and closed ended questions and was divided into several sections. Semi-structured questionnaires were also used to collect the information regarding climate change, its effects in the study area, agriculture, agroforestry and its contribution to minimize the effects of climate change. Respondents of different age, gender, occupation, education levels and residence were interviewed. In addition, senior members of the families were preferred. The questionnaire survey began in randomly selected households by explaining them the purpose of the study and their willingness to contribute. The use of questionnaires was advantageous to the study as it is simpler to administer and to analyze the data provided by the respondents.
Key informant interviews were taken from Government staffs, I/NGO officials, CBO staffs, local leaders, agricultural experts and teachers. There were altogether 10 key informants. For field observation, transect walk was done in order to collect information about the land use system, cropping pattern and other information related to climate change effects and adaptation on agriculture and forestry sector. This method was applied to collect primary data on cropping pattern, use of agrochemicals and input self-sufficiency for farming by local farmers. Altogether 3 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) consisting of local stakeholders, local persons, teachers, elderly people and mainly women were carried out during the field visit. Checklist was prepared to know all the necessary information required for the research study given in appendix.

2.3 Analysis of secondary information and data

Deep and thorough review of literatures, reports, researches, dissertations, publications of various related authorities, journals, internet surfing for national and international records, etc. were assessed for secondary data collection. Secondary database of precipitation and temperature were collected from Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM). Temperature data from 1988-2016 and rainfall data from 1988 to 2016 were collected from Kathmandu Meteorological and Hydrological Station. Secondary information was used to extract and synthesize the climate change adaptation measures, role of agroforestry to cope with climate change related threats, challenges faced by the world because of the harsh climatic condition, etc. Mining of the relevant data and information of the study area helped to avoid repetition of the same part of the study and save time and resources.

2.4 Data collection and supervision

Taking into consideration socio-economic criteria, ethnicity/caste representation, accessibility of the area, age of the respondents and agroforestry condition, the households that represented both rural and semi-urban communities were selected for conducting the study. The data collection was primarily based on recall method. The respondents provided information related to change in temperature and precipitation and the occurrence of climate induced disasters in the past. The data collection was undertaken between April and July in 2018. For seeing the trends and pattern of rainfall and temperature, rainfall data of Kunchha station was collected. Kunchha is the nearest station to Taksar but temperature data of only last 3 years was available. Therefore, temperature data was taken from second nearest station, which is Khudi.

2.5 Data management

Data were entered in Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) (22nd edition). The data entry program was pre-designed for controlling and avoiding errors of the data collection. The appropriate coding was also assigned to the qualitative data generated during the survey. Means, percentages and frequencies were used to summarize and categorize the information gathered. Graphs were prepared by using both SPSS and MS Excel. The explanatory variables in the study included: Gender, age, household size (members living in the household), education, farm experience, farm size and wealth class of the respondents. The dependent variables included: Choice of adaptation strategies like crop-livestock diversification, use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, agroforestry, diversification of income generating activities and change in crop calendar.

2.6 Data analysis

2.6.1 Climate change events and adaptation strategies at household level

The respondents were asked for if any type of disastrous events has occurred in the study area. To make them understand about the disastrous events, options like flood, drought, drying of streams, decrease in water quality, shortage of water and extreme precipitation were provided. The respondents were also asked about the adaptation measures they were practicing for adapting from the adverse effects of climate change events. These perceptions of local people regarding climate change events and adaptation strategies were captured through household survey and key informant survey and analyzed and presented through table, bar and charts.

2.6.2 For determining the factors influencing households’ choice of adaptation strategies to climate change

For this objective a Chi-square statistic was used which is a way to show a relationship between two categorical variables (dependent variables and explanatory variables).
x c 2 = O i E i 2 E i
In the formular, x2c means Chi-square test Subscript; ‘c’ is the degrees of freedom;‘Oi’ is the observed value; ‘Ei’ is the expected value; ‘∑’ means that we have to perform calculation for every single data item in the data set.
Logistic regression is an extension of simple linear regression. A logistic regression model was developed to explore the social, economic, institutional, and geographical factors influencing the adoption of CC adaptation strategies in this study. Where the dependent variable is dichotomous or binary in nature, we cannot use simple linear regression. Logistic regression is the statistical technique used to predict the relationship between predictors (independent variables) and a predicted variable (dependent variable) where the dependent variable is binary (for e.g., response [yes vs. no], score [high vs. low], etc.). This model helps to explore the degree and direction of the relationship between dependent and independent variables in the adoption of CC adaptation strategies at the HH level. In binary logistic regression, the outcome is usually coded as “0” or “1”, as this leads to the most straightforward interpretation.
The model is specified as:
ln P 1 P01X12X2+….+ßkXn
where, the subscript i is the i-th observation in the sample, P is the probability of an event occurring for an observed set of variables Xi, i.e the probability that the people adopts the strategies. (1-P) is the probability of non-adoption. ß0 is the intercept term and ß1, ß2,…, ßk are the coefficients of the explanatory variables X1, X2,…, Xn.

Y=Dependent variables (farmers’ choice of adaptation strategies)

where Y is coded as 1 for ‘crop-livestock diversification’, 2 for ‘use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides’, 3 for ‘agroforestry’, 4 for ‘diversification of income generating activities’, 5 for ‘change in crop calendar’ and 6 for ‘application of multiple cropping system’.

X1 to X7=Explanatory variables

where X1=Gender, X2=Age, X3=Household size, X4= Education, X5=Farm experience, X6=Farm size and X7=Wealth class.

2.6.3 For examining the role of agroforestry as climate change adaptation measure

Respondents were asked about the role of agroforestry to cope with climate change in the study area. Options given to the respondents were increased catchments for rivers and streams, improved micro-climate, increased wood products, increased food outputs, improved livestock health and livestock products, improved soil fertility rate and diversification of livelihood options.

3 Results and discussion

3.1 Climate data analysis of the study area

Climate data for the study area covering the years 1988-2016 was obtained from the Meteorological station of Kathmandu. Climate data was used for trend analysis of temperature and precipitation pattern. Least square curve fitting technique was used to find out the linear trend in the data given by the equation y=a+bt, where y=temperature or rainfall, t=time (year), a and b are constant estimated (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2 Average annual temperature trend of Lamjung District
Since 1988 to 2017, the average temperature across the study area showed that the highest maximum temperature occurred in the year 2015 (31 ℃) while the lowest maximum temperature was recorded to be 26.25 ℃ in the year 1989 (Fig. 2). The analysis of trend showed that the maximum temperature was increasing at the rate of 0.06 ℃ per year. The equation in Fig. 2 (y = 0.0603x-93.087) illustrates a change in mean temperature over time and R2 = 0.2554 indicating that 25.5% of the total variation in temperature (y) has a linear relationship between x = years and y = temperature (as described by the regression equation). Therefore, there is a significant change over the 30 years in the average temperature implying occurrences in climate change. This average temperature shows a lot of fluctuation over the past 30 years, shifting weather patterns and causing more extreme climate events, which are currently affecting the society and ecosystems. Highest minimum temperature was recorded in the year 2003 i.e., 19.31 ℃ while the least minimum temperature occurred in the year 1997 i.e., 14 ℃ (Fig. 2). The average minimum temperature seemed to be decreasing at the rate of 0.008 ℃.

3.2 Annual precipitation trend of Kunchha Station, Lamjung District

Analysis of the average annual precipitation shows slightly increasing trend in the amount of annual precipitation (Fig. 3). The increment in the rainfall was found to be at the rate of 0.241 mm per year. The average annual rainfall represented by this station was 216.14 mm. In the year 2002, the average amount of precipitation was recorded to be the highest in the study area i.e., 305.14 mm whereas least precipitation occurred in the year 1997 (142.87 mm). The pattern shows that there is a significant fluctuation of precipitation pattern over the 30 years. The area has faced both heavy rainfalls and droughts over the years. This shows that climate change has occurred over time causing a lot of fluctuations in the precipitation pattern.
Fig. 3 Average annual rainfall trend of Lamjung District

3.3 Perceptions of precipitation pattern among the farmers of the study area

A majority of the respondents perceived that the monsoon started earlier (51.5%) and end earlier (34.5%) than before (Fig. 4). Similarly, 57.5% of the respondents perceived that the cessation trend of rainfall has become late. While, 32.5% of respondents said that rainfall ends earlier than before. If majority of the respondents’ perception is taken into consideration, the result seems to support the trend of rainfall in Lamjung District.
Fig. 4 Perception of respondents on change in rainfall pattern
Among 120 respondents interviewed, 43.3% respondents believed that the length of rainy season has increased. Simultaneously, 18.3% of the respondents felt no change in the length of rainy season. 37.5% believed that the rainy season length has decreased during the course of time (Fig. 5). Along with that, maximum percentage (45.0%) of respondents noted increment in rainfall amount followed by 37.5% respondents who perceived that rainfall amount has decreased and the rest 17.5% respondents said that the rainfall amount was constant. This perception of people on length of rainy season supports the rainfall trend of Lamjung District derived from Meteorological station.
Fig. 5 Perception of respondents on change of rainfall pattern

3.4 Perception of respondents on climate change

The respondents were asked if they perceive about climate change. 96% of the respondents claimed that they know about climate change (Fig. 6). To the question of what the climate change consists of, different answers were recorded and a typology was made of the changes observed by the farmers. The main changes observed were: erratic rainfall (rainfall delays, early cessation, bad rainfall distribution, etc.); shortening of dry season; fluctuation in temperature and sometimes violent winds. The result shows that maximum respondents perceive that fluctuation in temperature is caused by climate change. 44% respondents said that climate change causes fluctuating temperature pattern. Similarly, 27% of the respondents reacted that climate change causes erratic rainfalls. 13% of the respondents said that the climate change results violent winds. Likewise, 12% of the respondents perceived that climate change causes lengthens the trend of dry season. The rest 4% of the respondents had no idea about climate change and its effects.
Fig. 6 Perception of respondents on climate change

3.5 Occurrence of climate change events

Maximum respondents were of more than 30 years of age so that it would be easier to interpret the results concerning climate change events. Increase in events like erratic rainfall (97%), hailstorm (89%), invasion of alien species (76%), decrease in dry season water flow (74%) and recharge rate of ground water (72%) and drought (70%) were experienced by the farmers over the years (Fig. 7). According to the respondents, although the sources of water have not dried completely and the water is available throughout the year, they have experienced significant drying of water sources in winter season and shortage of water. As per the view of the respondents, to make water available to the increasing population, splitting of water distribution pipe sources in the larger area, water has become scarce than before. Most of these climatic events were identified and recorded in mid-hills of Nepal by NAPA (MoPE, 2010).
Fig. 7 Perception of respondents on climate change events occurrence in the study area

3.6 Respondents’ perception on effect of climate change

In the interviews with elderly farmers, climate change was broadly acknowledged. Maximum interviewees stated that these changes affected the seasons and highlighted impacts in yields. According to the farmers, before they used to gain a lot in a small portion of land but now in a large portion also one doesn’t gain a lot. They said that there is no fertility anymore; the rain is also not the same and thus climate has changed. But, in contrast the causes of changes appeared to be blurred to the elderly farmers. They stated that the effects of climate change could be some kind of curse from the God and supernatural forces could be the reason behind the harsh climatic events. The elderly farmers had also confusion about the climate change effects. Some of them stated that before they could work in the field for the whole day. But in the present, they cannot do the same because of the hotness. But, according to them, the hotness could be probably not because of temperature rise but because of the fact that they are aging. Because of their age, they cannot work much in the field and spending a small fraction of time in the field makes their body to feel hot. But, some of them also stated human activities to be the major cause behind climate change which they had probably heard from extension and NGO agents.
All the respondents agreed that climate change led to crop/livestock pest infestation and diseases. White grubs, Megachile patera, bugs, flea and mosquitoes were some of the major pests that the respondents had been facing in the study area. 94% respondents claimed that pressure in groundwater supplies has increased because of climate change. Similarly, 92% farmers agreed with the reduced soil moisture due to increased temperature and longer drought events. 91% of the respondents stated that they have experienced the loss of crop and forest diversity. The examples they stated for explaining this fact is loss of local rice varieties and local cucumbers. Similarly, 87% of the respondents agreed to the fact that their crops have started to mature earlier than before. The reason behind early maturation of crops according to them was the increasing temperature. 86% of the respondents have experienced significant shortage of water. Of all the respondents, 65% reported that climate change led to decrease in crop yields. The other 35% didn’t except that crop yield has decreased over the years because they believed that using chemical fertilizers has increased the crop yields. 53% of the farmers reported that climate change has increased land degradation. The percentage of respondents perceiving that CC is not responsible for land degradation is also somewhat high (29%) for the reason that community forestry and agroforestry are strictly practiced in the study area which helped to compensate the effects of climate change towards land degradation (Fig. 8). NAPA has identified most of these effects occurring due to the changes in temperature and precipitation pattern over the years (MoPE, 2010). Gautam et al. (2013) have also reported similar consequences such as climate change effects on crop yield specially crop productivity, decreasing soil moisture, incidences of increasing pests and invasive species in agricultural land.
Fig. 8 Perception of respondents on effects of climate change

3.7 Farmers’ strategies for adaptation to climate change

The respondents who had perceived climate change had developed adaptation strategies (Fig. 9). Similar findings have been reported from Mohouna et al. (2018). This is contrary to the findings of (Fosu-Mensah et al., 2010) who said that only a few farmers have developed adaptation strategies. This difference in result could be because of socio-economic characteristics of the respondents. Unfortunately, he did not present the socio-economic characteristics of his respondents in his article so that the differences could be analyzed. Adaptation to climate change is a process that initially requires farmers to perceive that the climate has changed and then identify the necessary adaptations to be implemented. The adaptation strategies practiced by locals of Taksar included: “Uses of improved varieties of crops, chemical fertilizers and pesticides (73%)”, “Diversification of income generating activities (72%)”, “Crop-livestock diversification (71%),” “Agroforestry (68%)”, “Multiple cropping strategies (67%)” and “Change in crop calendar (57%)”. Similar findings were reported by several authors (Assoumana et al., 2016; Gebreeyesus, 2017).
Fig. 9 Adaptation strategies of respondents to cope with climate change

3.7.1 Use of improved varieties of crops, fertilizers and pesticides

Farmers used drought tolerant and short maturing varieties of crops. The increasing climate has resulted in infestation of pests and diseases in the crops. Thus, the farmers of Taksar use fertilizers and pesticides to cope with the effects of climate change. Many of the respondents prioritized organic fertilizers over chemical ones. They used chemical fertilizers only in severe cases. They also used chemical fertilizers to increase crop productivity and pesticides to control pests and diseases.

3.7.2 Agroforestry

The integration of agricultural crops, tree species (fruits and other trees), livestock and grass species were preferred by maximum of the respondents. It is worth noting that there are maximum farmers who practice agroforestry, and these farmers had a deep knowledge of the benefits of such practice: preventing soil erosion, reducing losses of water, availability of organic matter and nutrients, reducing number of agricultural pests and associated diseases, etc. Some of the species preferred for agroforestry by the locals of Taksar were Choerospondias axillaris, Citrus spp., Dendrocalamus spp., Jatropa curcus, Leucaena leucocephala, Mangifera indica, Ocimum sanctum, Psidium guyava, Litsea polyantha, Ficus glaberrima, Garuga pinnata, Melia azedarach, etc.

3.7.3 Diversification of Income Generating Activities (IGA)

The locals of Taksar involved in livelihood diversification which generally, include off-farm activities to generate additional income. In order to minimize the risks and secure a constant inflow of income despite different harvesting seasons, respondents pursued various income activities. Teaching, armed force and shop-keeping were some of the major incomes generating activities practiced by respondents other than agriculture.

3.7.4 Change in crop calendar

Due to the increase in temperature and fluctuation in rainfall patterns, the locals have started changing their crop calendars which helped them provide timely information on planting, sowing and harvesting of crops. Changing the usual cropping pattern ensured them food production in off seasons as well. One of the common adaptation methods of the respondents included changes in agriculture activity dates. It aims to changing the dates of the farming activities to coincide with the rainy season. Because of the uncertainties related to climate variability, farmers have started land preparation activities earlier to be ready in case the onset of the rainy season occurs earlier. As well, they have begun using strategies such as double sowing in case any risk occurs. According to the farmers, rice was planted 2 weeks earlier a year ago due to early onset of monsoon.

3.7.5 Application of multiple cropping strategies

The farmers of Taksar grow more than 2 crops in the same piece of land. This allowed them improve the yield, increase yield per unit of land, reduce pest and disease attack, maintain the soil fertility and control weeds. Intercropping, mixed cropping, relay cropping, etc. were some of the multiple cropping strategies observed during the field visit at Taksar. From focus group discussions with farmers, it was revealed that farmers had a wide knowledge of the advantages of multiple cropping. The multiple cropping frequently mentioned by respondents were: Maize-bean, maize-black eye beans, maize-pumpkin etc. It should be noted that farmers associate these practices with a concern for preserving food and nutritional security of the household. The respondents aimed to enhance the likelihood of ensuring a minimum yield of products after the harvest. “If one species does not harvest, there will be something else that can be harvested,” they remarked.

3.8 Chi-square Test (for different adaptation strategies applied by respondents of Taksar)

The results of factors influencing the choice of a specific adaptation suggested that farming experience, farm size, income class of the household, education level, gender and household size are the most significant factors affecting the adaptation choice of farmers (Table 1). Chi-square tests showed a significant association between farming experience and identification and implementation of adaptation strategies like crop-livestock diversification, use of improved varieties of crops along with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, agroforestry and multiple cropping (Table 2). The education level was significantly associated with the choice of diversification of income generating activities as an adaptation strategy. Educated and experienced farmers are expected to have more knowledge and information about climate change and agronomic practices that they can use in response (Kumari et al., 2014). Farm size determined the decision to combine multiple strategies like crop-livestock diversification, agroforestry, change in crop calendar and multiple cropping to cope with climate change. This is confirmed by Fadina and Barjolle (2018) and Kumari et al. (2014) who reported that large-scale farmers are more likely to adapt to climate change because they have more capital and resources. The income class of the households determined the significant association with practice of crop-livestock diversification, use of improved crop varieties, agroforestry and multiple cropping. The more the farming experience, farm size and wealth of the respondents, the more association of the farmers was observed to practice multiple cropping strategies to cope with the changing climate. The rich farmers could afford off-season farming and multiple cropping. And thus, rich farmers often changed the crop planting pattern. Positive association was observed between diversification of income generating activities and gender of the respondents. These findings suggest that the males contributed significantly to diversification of income generating activities. The majority of male locals (other than elderly ones) involved in services, businesses, armed forces, etc.
Table 1 Definitions and descriptions of independent variables
Variables Variable description Variable type
R_gender Gender of the respondent (1=Male) B
R_age Age of the respondent (Years) C
R_hh_sz Household size of the respondent C
R_education Level of education of the respondent (0=Illiterate) B
R_farm_exp Farming experience of the respondent (0=No) B
R_farm_sz Farm size of the respondent C
R_wealth_class Well-being ranking of the respondent (0=Poor) B

Note: C = Continuous; B = Binary.

Table 2 Chi-square test of different adaptation strategies applied by respondents of Taksar
Use of improved variety crops and chemical fertilizers Agroforestry Diversification
of IGA
Change in crop
Multiple cropping
χ2 P-value χ2 P-value χ2 P-value χ2 P-value χ2 P-value χ2 P-value
R_gender 0.176 0.675 2.865 0.091 1.035 0.309 5.153 0.023* 0.642 0.423 0.691 0.406
R_age 46.127 0.550 42.197 0.709 37.559 0.861 40.653 0.765 38.935 0.822 42.860 0.683
R_hh_sz 12.151 0.434 13.612 0.326 13.266 0.350 12.913 0.375 11.437 0.492 13.679 0.322
R_education 0.701 0.402 <0.001 0.984 0.411 0.521 12.061 0.001* 1.117 0.291 0.703 0.402
R_farm_exp 53.786 <0.001 58.582 <0.001 47.539 <0.001 0.257 0.613 8.182 0.004* 45.671 <0.001
R_farm_sz 80.113 0.002** 62.135 0.083 103.00 <0.001 53.498 0.271 98.617 <0.001 90.975 <0.001
R_wealth_class 21.859 <0.001 5.398 0.020** 26.300 <0.001 0.218 0.641 29.407 <0.001 16.874 <0.001

Note: * and ** denote 1% and 5% level of significance, respectively.

3.9 Regression analysis of different adaptation strategies applied by respondents of Taksar

Regression results show that farm experience is associated with all type of strategies applied by farmers i.e., crop-livestock diversification, use of improved varieties of crops agroforestry, diversification of income generating activities (low significance; coefficient=0.911, P-value=0.092), change of crop calendar and multiple cropping activities (Table 3). These findings indicate that households having less farming experience are likely to have less knowledge and had minimum probability in adapting to the climate change effects. The result shows that the farmers having large farm size were more likely to practice crop-livestock diversification; use of improved varieties of crops; agroforestry and multiple cropping in the study area. The age and income class of the respondents had no any significant association with any of the adaptation measures. The male respondents, big household size and educated respondents were more likely to diversify their income generating activities. The binary logistic regression analysis showed that the farmers having more experience and large farm size adopted multiple cropping strategies to cope with the changing climate.
Table 3 Binary logistic analysis of different adaptation strategies applied by respondents of Taksar (N=120)
Independent variables Crop-livestock
Use of improved
variety crops and chemical fertilizers
Agroforestry Diversification of IGA Change in crop
Multiple cropping
Coefficients S.E. Coefficients S.E. Coefficients S.E. Coefficients S.E. Coefficients S.E. Coefficients S.E.
R_gender 0.440 0.927 0.131 0.721 0.579 1.375 0.032** 0.544 0.072 0.765 0.209 0.798
R_age 0.031 0.047 0.676 0.027 0.367 0.065 0.846 0.021 0.840 0.025 0.107 0.034
R_hh_size 0.142 0.182 0.484 0.132 0.586 0.305 0.002* 0.120 0.679 0.129 0.545 0.155
R_education 0.130 0.934 0.604 0.713 0.851 1.704 0.002* 0.542 0.448 0.704 0.120 0.838
R_farm_exp 0.093 1.478 0.001* 1.204 0.022** 4.436 0.092 0.911 0.012** 1.182 0.015** 1.427
R_farm_sz 0.001* 1.327 0.034** 0.648 0.014** 7.458 0.382 0.537 <0.001 1.295 <0.001 1.084
R_wealth_class 0.220 0.892 0.169 0.731 0.321 1.464 0.773 0.647 0.661 0.787 0.663 0.814

Note: * and ** denote 1% and 5% level of significance, respectively.

3.10 Role of agroforestry as climate change adaptation measure

The adoption of agroforestry in the study area is very influential among farmers regardless of gender and age (Fig. 10). Farmers used agroforestry as a land use system to conserve soils and moderate the climate. According to field observations conducted during the study, this practice is increasingly implemented in the area. From the study results, it is clear that the agroforestry practice has resulted in maximum benefits to the farmers. The respondents who practiced agroforestry experienced various benefits such as improved soil fertility rate (84.2%); increased food outputs (83.3%); diversification of livelihood options (82.2%); improved micro-climate (80.8%); increased catchment for rivers and streams (79.2%); improved livestock health and livestock products (77.5%) and increased wood products (71.7%). Although these methods are not sufficient to control climate change effects, they do help to cope with theclimate change effects to some extent. Agroforestry practices ameliorate the negative impacts of shortened growing seasons due to delayed onset of rain (Wagner et al., 2021). The canopy covers from trees offer direct benefits by reducing soil tempera-ture for crops that have been planted underneath (Castro et al., 2002). This increases the possibility of lowering the run off velocity and soil erosion due to heavy rainfall (Assouline and Ben-Hur, 2006).
Fig. 10 Role of agroforestry to cope with climate change

4 Conclusions

The study revealed that the locals were well aware about the disastrous events occurred in the study area due to climate change. Different climate change events have occurred simultaneously in Taksar according to the respondents. The events include increase in “erratic rainfall” followed by “hailstorms,” and “invasive alien species”. The major effects respondents experienced due to these events were increase in “crop-livestock pests and diseases” followed by “increase in pressure on groundwater supplies”, “decrease in soil moisture” and “loss of crop and forest diversity”. Also, climate variability, and specially the fluctuation in temperature, drove farmers to adopt different adaptation practices that could buffer climate risks affecting the environment, including major adaptation strategies like “use of improved varieties of crops, fertilizers and pesticides” followed by “diversification of income generating activities”, “crop- livestock diversification” and “agroforestry”. The study investigated the determinants and factors for the adoption of adaptation practices using survey data from the farming communities in Taksar of Lamjung District. The results from the Chi-square test and binomial logistic regression model indicated that characteristics, such as farming experience, farm size and wealth of the respondents paid significant contribution for determining the adaptation strategies of the respondents to the climate change. Agroforestry is practiced by 68% of the people in Taksar. Thus, the study investigated the role of agroforestry as climate change adaptation measure and the result came out to be satisfying. The various role of agroforestry in the study area included “improved soil fertility rate” followed by “increased food outputs,” and “diversified livelihood options” along with “improved micro-climate”.

5 Recommendations

Government should include climate change adaptation policies incorporating agroforestry policies in their developmental agenda because of its positive social and environmental impacts. Listing of the CC events should help policymakers to better think and plan climate change related policies in terms of adaptation to climate change. This study suggests that households adopting agroforestry practices are not homogenous. Thus, there is a need for more concentrated efforts to improve the level of farmers practicing agroforestry to ultimately ensure benefits to the environment and the people residing there. To adapt with the changing climate and frequently reducing crop yields, drought resistant and less water requiring plants are needed to be suggested by the concerned authorities. To encourage the farmers to practice agroforestry practices, they should be provided with capacity buildings, trainings and information to make them aware about the benefits of agroforestry. Also, facilitating the farmers with the availability of credit, investing in yield-increasing technology packages to increase farm income, creating off-farm employment, conducting research on use of new crop varieties, tree varieties and livestock species, encouraging informal social networks, free plant distributions and field visits to the areas where agroforestry has been practiced must be carried out to make encourage farmers to practice agroforestry in order to cope with the changing conditions of the climate. Promotion of agroforestry practices among the local people with the coordination of local government is essential with particular focus to the community with low farm experience, low land holding and lower income category.
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