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Does climate adaptation of vulnerable households to extreme events benefit livestock production?

Bai, Yuping, Deng, Xiangzheng, Zhang, Yue, Wang, Chao, Liu, Yu
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.210 pp. 358-365
Food and Agriculture Organization, climate change, drought, econometric models, forage, grazing, households, human communities, issues and policy, livelihood, livestock, livestock production, pastoralism, purchasing, rangelands, risk, semiarid zones, spatial variation, surveys, temporal variation, China
Extreme climate events have become more frequent and severe as a result of climate change. In semi-arid pastoral regions, extreme drought is harmful to livestock production and to vulnerable human communities and livelihoods. In this study, we considered extreme drought in semi-arid regions and investigated climate adaptations taken by the local vulnerable households and their effects on livestock production. We first analyzed the characteristics of spatio-temporal variation of extreme drought in Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia, China, during 1980–2015 by using the FAO Penman–Monteith model and then applied stochastic frontier analysis to evaluate the technical efficiency of livestock production of 126 pasturing households. We further explored the effects of climate adaptations to extreme drought on the technical efficiency of livestock production. The results showed that the average frequency of extreme drought in Hulun Buir was 4.6 month/year and displayed a decreasing trend varying from southwest to northeast during 1980–2015. Based on the survey data, the average technical efficiency of livestock production of the local households was 0.530 in 2015, which could be greatly improved. The adaptations of the households significantly positively increased the technical efficiency of livestock production. Purchasing more forage and selling more livestock were the two most frequently adopted and effective adaptive measures for the response of vulnerable households in Hulun Buir to extreme drought risks. Further policy options were provided to improve livestock production as well as rangeland protection and restoration for coping with extreme drought in the context of climate change in semi-arid pastoral regions.