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Climate variability and land-use change in Danangou watershed, China

Journal article
Authors Johanna Hageback
Jenny Sundberg
Madelene Ostwald
Deliang Chen
Xie Yun
Per Knutsson
Published in Climatic Change
Volume 72
Issue 1-2
Pages 189-212
ISSN 0165-0009
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Department of Environmental and Regional Studies of the Human Condition, Human Ecology Section
Botanical Institute
Pages 189-212
Language en
Keywords climate change, land-use change, China
Subject categories Climate Research, Technology and social change


With global concern on climate change impacts, developing countries are given special attention due their susceptibility. In this paper, change and variability in climate, land use and farmers’ perception, adaptation and response to change are examined in Danangou watershed in the Chinese Loess Plateau.

The first focus is to look at how climate data recorded at meteorological stations recently have evolved, and how farmers perceived these changes. Further, we want to see how the farmers respond and adapt to climate variability and what the resulting impact on land use is. Finally, other factors causing change in land use are considered. Local precipitation and temperature instrumental data and interview data from farmers were used.

The instrumental data shows that the climate is getting warmer and drier, the latter despite large interannual variability. The trend is seen on the local and regional level. Farmers’ perception of climatic variability corresponds well with the data record. During the last 20 years, the farmers have become less dependent on agriculture by adopting a more diversified livelihood. This adaptation makes them less vulnerable to climate variability.

It was found that government policies and reforms had a stronger influence on land use than climate variability. Small-scale farmers should therefore be considered as adaptive to changing situations, planned and non-consciously planned.

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