“Now it does not rain:” Perceptions, experiences and local models of climate change in Southern Mozambique

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 3:45 PM
B213 (GWCC)
L. Jen Shaffer, Athens, GA; and L. Naiene

Presentation PDF (293.1 kB)

Local models of climate incorporate human perspectives and experiences of past climate events and changes. As a result, these models offer critical insight into locally important factors that trigger responses to new climate conditions. In this paper, we explore perceptions and experiences of changes to local climate patterns and climate-associated environmental changes over the past 45 years (1963-2008) in two rural communities in Matutúine District, Mozambique. Measurable climate change in this region includes increasing temperatures and more erratic rainfall leading to drought and altered season timing. Residents discuss both short-term and long-term precipitation changes, as well as temperature increases and altered seasonal timing. The climate-associated environmental changes they have observed draw attention to links between local livelihood practices and climate. Such changes include smaller forest areas, reduced crop and wild fruit production, fewer cattle, increased wildfires and elephant raiding of crops, drying up of water sources, poor health, and cultural change. Differences between adjacent communities highlight the role of landscape variability in perceptions and experiences of climate change, and demonstrate how local climate models can provide insight into local ecological patterns and processes.