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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 7, issue 4
Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 977-989, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-7-977-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Climate, land use, and conflict in Africa

Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 977-989, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-7-977-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 21 Dec 2016

Research article | 21 Dec 2016

Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: experiences of women fish-processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin

Hanne Jørstad1 and Christian Webersik2 Hanne Jørstad and Christian Webersik
  • 1Centre for Gender and Equality, University of Agder, Agder, Norway
  • 2Department of Global Development and Planning, University of Agder, Agder, Norway

Abstract. In recent years, research on climate change and human security has received much attention among policy makers and academia alike. Communities in the Global South that rely on an intact resource base and struggle with poverty, existing inequalities and historical injustices will especially be affected by predicted changes in temperature and precipitation. The objective of this article is to better understand under what conditions local communities can adapt to anticipated impacts of climate change. The empirical part of the paper answers the question as to what extent local women engaged in fish processing in the Chilwa Basin in Malawi have experienced climate change and how they are affected by it. The article assesses an adaptation project designed to make those women more resilient to a warmer and more variable climate. The research results show that marketing and improving fish processing as strategies to adapt to climate change have their limitations. The study concludes that livelihood diversification can be a more effective strategy for Malawian women to adapt to a more variable and unpredictable climate rather than exclusively relying on a resource base that is threatened by climate change.

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This research is about climate change adaptation. It demonstrates how adaptation to climate change can avoid social tensions if done in a sustainable way. Evidence is drawn from Malawi in southern Africa.
This research is about climate change adaptation. It demonstrates how adaptation to climate...
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