A systematic review of Nepalese farmers’ climate change adaptation strategies

Sushila Rijal, Popular Gentle, Uttam Khanal, Clevo Wilson, Bhagawat Rimal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the increasing vulnerabilities and adverse effects of climate change, the development and implementation of adaptation strategies is essential. This is particularly so for Nepal where the agriculture sector–the mainstay of the country’s economy–is highly vulnerable to climate change. As a country that loses much from climate change, local communities here have been adapting to climate change impacts using localized knowledge and practices. However, few studies have systematically reviewed the adaptation strategies of Nepalese farmers. We conduct such a review using the RepOrting Standards for Systematic Evidence Syntheses (ROSES) guidelines. The relevant literature is retrieved using Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar databases. The adaptation strategies of the Nepalese farmers are broadly categorized under seven themes and twenty-nine sub-themes: (a) access to financial resources and risk transfer; (b) diversification of livelihoods, income sources and agricultural practices; (c) spatial adaptation; (d) climate smart agriculture; (e) common pooling of resources and social action; (f) traditional and local knowledge; and (g) food and water storage and security. Diversification of livelihoods, income sources and agricultural practices are the most common adaptation strategies employed. All the strategies practiced are autonomous, have a short term orientation and reactive in nature rather than being sustainable and proactive. The outputs of this study explore the significance of the local adaptation strategies and to what extent they should be integrated into the mainstream of national and local level development plans. These findings of Nepal–are relevant to neighbouring countries such as Bhutan, Bangladesh and India. Key policy insights This study finds that locally practiced adaptation strategies have a short term and reactive focus rather than being sustainable and proactive solutions. Farmers are confronting weak institutions and financial and managerial difficulties in coping with climate change and adapting to its impacts; hence, local-level adaptation strategies alone cannot cope with the harsh impacts of climate change. The research findings indicate the urgency and need to integrate or mainstream local adaptation strategies into national and local level development planning to strengthen adaptation practice and make it sustainable.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClimate Policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'A systematic review of Nepalese farmers’ climate change adaptation strategies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this