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close this section of the library Prasad, Shirleen Shomila

View the PDF document The value of local knowledge for climate change adaptation planning : case studies from Fiji and Vanuatu
Author:Prasad, Shirleen Shomila
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.Sc.
Subject: Climatic changes -- Fiji -- Case studies, Climatic changes -- Vanuatu -- Case studies
Date: 2013
Call No.: Pac QC 903 .2 .F5 P73 2013
BRN: 1192404
Copyright:20-40% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: Pacific Island communities are heavily reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods. These communities have been using their knowledge of their land and sea to monitor changes in their local environment, manage resources and secure their livelihoods. In doing so, they have developed an intimate understanding of patterns relating to winds, seasonal cycles, flowering and fruiting patterns and changes in the behaviour of animals including bird nesting and migration. This locally-sustained knowledge has been passed down through generations and is widely applied in agriculture, food preservation, natural resource management and adaptation to extreme weather events. For decades now, there has been a growing concern that climate change will have severe and far-reaching impacts on communities throughout the Pacific region. In recent years, it has been recognised that local knowledge can: enhance the understanding of climate change impacts; assist in identifying successful coping strategies used currently or those practiced in the past; and facilitate the planning of appropriate mitigation measures. This study involved forty in-depth interviews in six communities in Fiji and Vanuatu. The six communities involved in this study included Qeleni village, Naselesele village and Yanuca village in Fiji; and Piliura village, Tasirriki village and Lonamilo village in Vanuatu. The research focused on the premise that we must learn from past practices to plan for appropriate climate change adaptation measures in the future. This thesis presents analysis of various indicators in nature that indicate the onset of extreme weather events and documents valuable coping strategies utilised by communities to adapt to the impacts of extreme weather conditions. Some of the coping strategies employed by locals include: re-planting trees on coastal foreshores; securing houses and plantations prior to cyclones and floods; using sustainable water storage practices during droughts; and using food preservation techniques during cyclones and droughts. The findings of this research intend to build an understanding of the types of local knowledge and sustainable local adaptation practices that can be utilised for communitybased climate change planning. This can provide a more sustainable and effective manner upon which decision-making about climate change adaptation can transpire.
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