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Patterns of Rural Community Livelihood and Local Knowledge on Socio-ecological Production Landscapes (SEPLs) in the Agro-ecological Zones of the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam Plain, India

10:40, Thursday 11 May 2023 EDT (20 minutes)

Rural livelihoods are subject to multiple shocks and stresses that can increase household vulnerability. Brahmaputra Valley of Assam, India, is one of the most hazard-prone areas of the Indian subcontinent. The research questions paused for this study are: 1. What is the impact of climate variability on agriculture-dependent livelihoods in the Brahmaputra Valley? 2. What dynamic livelihood patterns are at work in the study area? 3. Which methodological approach might provide a more holistic picture of community livelihood about natural resource value-based knowledge for rural dwellers in the Brahmaputra Valley?

Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are adopted to understand patterns of community livelihood concerning Knowledge-based and perception. The study was based on Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and prepared questionnaires in the three (3) agroecological zones of Brahmaputra valley. SATOYAMA INDICATOR SCORECARD: indicators for resilience in socio-ecological production landscapes used to understand the landscape baseline assessment. Rainfall parameters with crop productivity were analyzed to consider the impact of climate on agriculture in the Brahmaputra valley. 

Rural people choose agriculture as their primary livelihood. The valley is experiencing severe flooding during monsoon and post-monsoon. Acres of land left abandoned due to loss of soil quality. Due to flood hazards, people are shifting from agriculture to other non-agricultural activities. People practice dry season cropping as a cope up strategy. Farmers believed that anthropogenic activities are worse than climate change impact. Education to farmers is essential to understand the use of new varieties, fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and land management. Diversified patterns of livelihood exist in the three agroecological zones of the valley. The major environmental, economic, and social problems of the landscape include Flash floods, poor drainage system (in farm roads) and water management resulting in loss of limited and valuable paddy fields; Frequent river erosion and landslides causing loss of fertile soils, agricultural filed, animal and property loss; Wetland degradation due to human horizontal expansion for settlement; Human wild animal conflict and as a result crop damage and insecurity for the farmers; Loss of culture and tradition due to modernization. Slowing down of traditional knowledge inherited by generations; Limited livelihood and income generating opportunities; Narrow genetic base of agriculture crops and loss of traditional crops and crop varieties; Low awareness and education on environment conservation and proper waste management; Young people losing interest in the farm activities and prefer to off-farm activities and moving to cities in search of better opportunities.

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