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Quantifying local people's perceptions to climate change, and their assessments of which changes matter, is fundamental to addressing the dual challenge of land conservation and poverty alleviation in densely populated tropical regions To develop appropriate policies and responses, it will be important not only to anticipate the nature of expected changes, but also how they are perceived, interpreted and adapted to by local residents. The Albertine Rift region in East Africa is one of the world's most threatened biodiversity hotspots due to dense smallholder agriculture, high levels of land and resource pressures, and habitat loss and conversion. Results of three separate household surveys conducted in the vicinity of Kibale National Park during the late 2000s indicate that farmers are concerned with variable precipitation. Many survey respondents reported that conditions are drier and rainfall timing is becoming less predictable. Analysis of daily rainfall data for the climate normal period 1981 to 2010 indicates that total rainfall both within and across seasons has not changed significantly, although the timing and transitions of seasons has been highly variable. Results of rainfall data analysis also indicate significant changes in the intra-seasonal rainfall distribution, including longer dry periods within rainy seasons, which may contribute to the perceived decrease in rainfall and can compromise food security. Our results highlight the need for fine-scale climate information to assist agro-ecological communities in developing effective adaptive management.
Public Library of Science
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Hartter J, Stampone MD, Ryan SJ, Kirner K, Chapman CA, et al. (2012) Patterns and Perceptions of Climate Change in a Biodiversity Conservation Hotspot. PLoS ONE 7(2): e32408.
© 2012 Hartter et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.