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Conservation farming: A clumsy solutions to climate adaptation in the Himalayas

Authors: Netra Chhetri*, Arizona State University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Applied Geography, Rural Geography
Keywords: conservation farming, clumsy solution, wicked problem, climate adaptation, Himalayas.
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The ability of society to respond to impending challenges of climate change is unlikely to follow a smooth trajectory with time. Getting ahead of the possible consequences of climate change is contingent upon abilities of households, communities, and their supporting institutions to respond through innovation. Ambiguity, mind-bending complexity, and irreducible uncertainty associated with climate change make it a ‘wicked problem’ that continue to frustrate the search for elegant and linear solutions for which society has had a long history and experience. The ‘wickedness’ of the problem urge us to go beyond coherent approach and adopt what look like a ‘clumsy’ and deploy an array of pragmatic solutions that are embedded in values and norms of communities in question. Given this, it is important to unravel how existing repository of knowledge might help achieve climate-resilient systems that enable a smoother transition to future climate. Drawing upon case of the practices of conservation farming in the foothills of the Himalayas, this paper demonstrates the value of clumsy solutions in light of adaptation to climate change. More specifically this paper demonstrates how smallholder farming system, which once was at risk, has evolved to become one of the most resilient systems to climate through complementarities achieved between local and expert driven knowledge.

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