Climate change is already forcing farmers in Uttarakhand to migrate

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By Kasturi Das

Climate change in Uttarakhand will increasingly force people to abandon farming at high altitudes and move to the plains over the next 30 years. A new study on the state in the middle of the Himalayan range by the Germany-based Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi has forecast the worst impacts will be in higher elevations. This may accelerate the trend of people migrating and leaving land fallow.

Uttarakhand, which covers an area bigger than Costa Rica, may be 1.6 degrees Celsius-1.9 degrees Celsius warmer by 2050. Its residents are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, such as changing temperatures, upward-moving snowlines, receding glaciers, erratic rainfall, reduction of snow in winter, changed cropping seasons, shifting cultivation zones for certain crops, and drying up of perennial streams, as pointed out in the state government’s action plan on climate change.


Existing pressures on farming include a decrease in land held per person, lack of irrigation infrastructure, crop depredation by animals like wild boars or monkeys, and a waning interest in farming among young people. Climate change is adding to these.

A vulnerability and risk assessment done for the state government’s action plan on climate change identified three ways climate change may impact agriculture: increased water stress, increased risk of floods and changes in crop yields. Almora, Champawat, Pauri Garhwal and Tehri Garhwal are the districts likely to experience high water stress, it said.



Locked houses, fallow lands: Climate change and migration in Uttarakhand, India English

Document links last validated on: 16 July 2021

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