Understanding local community perceptions on impacts, causes, and responses to climate change is vital for promotion of community resilience towards climate change. This study explored local ecological knowledge (LEK) held by local communities on climate change trends and impacts in the Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve (MZBR), Zimbabwe. The objectives of the study were to (i) investigate local community perceptions on trends and causes of climate change, (ii) identify biophysical impacts of climate change at the local level, and (iii) explore the ecosystem-based adaptation strategies towards climate change. The study used a mixed methods approach where a household questionnaire survey (n=320), key informant interviews (n=12), and focus group discussions (n=8) were used to collect data between April 2015 and October 2016. Results from the study show that local communities have observed decreasing rainfall and increasing temperatures as key indicators of climate change. Local communities observed water scarcity, changes in vegetation phenology, livestock and wildlife mortalities, and food shortages due to drought as the major impacts on their livelihoods. LEK can contribute to adaptive management strategies that enhance resilience of socioecological systems (SES) in the face of climate change by providing information on the status and use of biophysical components of the environment and by highlighting potential local adaptation strategies that can sustain key livelihood practices.
Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve (MZBR) – a UNESCO biosphere reserve
|Climate change impacts
|Effect of Nbs on CCI
|**No quantified outcome measure but based on perceptions of local community members from questionaires and focus group discussions. Below are relevant summary statements from authors regarding how climate impacts have been addressed Drought: [Positive] Key informants and FGD participants identify wild fruits and forest products, which they used to sustain livelihoods during periods of drought….Harvest wild fruits, e.g., muchekecha, and wild legumes such as Dioscorea praehensilis Benth (mupama), and the air potato, Dioscorea bulbifera (manyanya), and Rhynchosia venulosa (mukoyo) during drought periods… Mupama tree is also used during drought periods. For ex- ample, respondents mentioned the tree species provided food relief to most vulnerable and poor households during the most severe 1991/2 and 2007/8 drought period. Key informants reported that Rhynchosia venulosa (mukoyo) is as one of the popular drought relief plant species among the local community members. Key in- formants and FGD participants stated that traditional beer- brewing experts use the roots of the legume to brew beer, which can be sold locally or taken to the border town of Chirundu for sale. Key informants suggested that com- mercialization of the by-product from the legume is im- portant in contributing towards household income during drought periods.
study was conducted in the Chundu Communal and Nyamakate Resettlement Area (Table 1) located in the transitional zone of the Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve (MZBR), in the northern margins of Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe.