Climate Change and Environmental Pressure: Adaptation and Resilience of Local Communities in the Hindu-Kush-Himalaya
Climate Change and Environmental Pressure: Adaptation and Resilience of Local Communities in the Hindu-Kush-Himalaya
Editor(s): G. Gioli, V. Lucarini, J. Scheffran, and A. Turner

The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) is the highest mountain range in the world and its glaciers feed into 10 major Asian river basins. Together, these rivers contribute to the freshwater supply of an estimated 1.4 billion people, out of whom 20% live below the poverty line. Eight countries share the territory of the HKH region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and China. All of these countries are experiencing fast-paced transformations at several levels and scales. The HKH has been identified as one of the global hot spots for climate change; however, the simulation of the climatic conditions in the HKH still presents serious challenges to the research community, and state-of-the-art climate models struggle in reproducing the observed climate variability and trends. Moreover, collecting and validating hydrometeorological data in such an extreme and diverse territory is highly challenging. The intensity and features of future climate variations, and especially of its extremes, and their potential impacts in the region are still quite uncertain. Understanding the interaction between climatic and environmental change (changing temperature and precipitation patterns, changes in the hydrological regimes of water basins, and in the snow-cover dynamics, variation in the extent of glaciers, pollution), and other drivers of change such as globalization, economic integration and population dynamics (out-migration, rural–urban migration, and population growth) are of great importance for planning a sustainable future in the region.

This special issue collects some of the contributions presented at the workshop "Climate Change and Environmental Pressure: Adaptation and Resilience of Local Communities in the Hindu-Kush-Himalaya (HKH)" held in Hamburg on October 9–11 2013. This editorial activity aims at contributing to building transdisciplinary knowledge and collaborations among scholars working on climate change and its impacts in the HKH region, beyond disciplinary and national boundaries. Such knowledge shall lead to a better understanding of vulnerabilities and to a holistic view on the environmental and climatic challenges that shall feed into future research design, and to inform stakeholders and policy-makers. We foresee contributions covering four diverse but partially overlapping research areas, across natural sciences, social sciences, and engineering:

  • regional climate: models and observations;
  • resources and land management, water, food and energy security;
  • rural–urban interactions: livelihoods, gender, migration and development;
  • policy, governance, institutions and best practices.

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17 May 2017
Prevailing climatic trends and runoff response from Hindukush–Karakoram–Himalaya, upper Indus Basin
Shabeh Hasson, Jürgen Böhner, and Valerio Lucarini
Earth Syst. Dynam., 8, 337–355,,, 2017
Short summary
07 Aug 2015
Gender and climate change in the Indian Himalayas: global threats, local vulnerabilities, and livelihood diversification at the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
M. V. Ogra and R. Badola
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 505–523,,, 2015
02 Jul 2015
Policies, economic incentives and the adoption of modern irrigation technology in China
R. Cremades, J. Wang, and J. Morris
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 399–410,,, 2015
Short summary
22 Jun 2015
Establishment and maintenance of regulating ecosystem services in a dryland area of central Asia, illustrated using the Kökyar Protection Forest, Aksu, NW China, as an example
S. Missall, M. Welp, N. Thevs, A. Abliz, and Ü. Halik
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 359–373,,, 2015
22 Jun 2015
Migration and global environmental change: methodological lessons from mountain areas of the global South
A. Milan, G. Gioli, and T. Afifi
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 375–388,,, 2015
28 May 2015
Exploring objective climate classification for the Himalayan arc and adjacent regions using gridded data sources
N. Forsythe, S. Blenkinsop, and H. J . Fowler
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 311–326,,, 2015
Short summary
12 May 2015
Do Himalayan treelines respond to recent climate change? An evaluation of sensitivity indicators
U. Schickhoff, M. Bobrowski, J. Böhner, B. Bürzle, R. P. Chaudhary, L. Gerlitz, H. Heyken, J. Lange, M. Müller, T. Scholten, N. Schwab, and R. Wedegärtner
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 245–265,,, 2015
Short summary
11 May 2015
Farmers' perceptions of and adaptation strategies to climate change and their determinants: the case of Punjab province, Pakistan
M. Abid, J. Scheffran, U. A. Schneider, and M. Ashfaq
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 225–243,,, 2015
Short summary
15 Apr 2015
Framing hydropower as green energy: assessing drivers, risks and tensions in the Eastern Himalayas
R. Ahlers, J. Budds, D. Joshi, V. Merme, and M. Zwarteveen
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 195–204,,, 2015
Short summary
09 Mar 2015
Sustainable management of river oases along the Tarim River (SuMaRiO) in Northwest China under conditions of climate change
C. Rumbaur, N. Thevs, M. Disse, M. Ahlheim, A. Brieden, B. Cyffka, D. Duethmann, T. Feike, O. Frör, P. Gärtner, Ü. Halik, J. Hill, M. Hinnenthal, P. Keilholz, B. Kleinschmit, V. Krysanova, M. Kuba, S. Mader, C. Menz, H. Othmanli, S. Pelz, M. Schroeder, T. F. Siew, V. Stender, K. Stahr, F. M. Thomas, M. Welp, M. Wortmann, X. Zhao, X. Chen, T. Jiang, J. Luo, H. Yimit, R. Yu, X. Zhang, and C. Zhao
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 83–107,,, 2015
27 Feb 2015
Large-scale atmospheric forcing and topographic modification of precipitation rates over High Asia – a neural-network-based approach
L. Gerlitz, O. Conrad, and J. Böhner
Earth Syst. Dynam., 6, 61–81,,, 2015
Short summary
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