The assessment clarified correlations among climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and ecosystem services for human wellbeing.
The Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, was implemented by ICIMOD between July 2007 and December 2008. The assessment was funded by the MacArthur Foundation. The Eastern Himalayas is a priority area for the MacArthur Foundation, and the assessment was carried out to provide guidance to the Foundation, ICIMOD, and their partners in developing new strategies for biodiversity conservation and building the resilience of people to combat impacts of climate change.
The assessment clarified correlations among climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and ecosystem services for human wellbeing. It also confirmed the region’s vulnerability to climate change as a result of the interplay of several other drivers of change.
For more details see: Synthesis Report
Climate scenarios were reconstructed using data generated by recent model runs at the regional and global levels. The study indicated the increased magnitude of change with elevation, both in mean shift in temperature and precipitation.
For further details on trends and projections, including changes detected in the primary climate change drivers and climate system responses, see: Technical Report 1
The study focused the current status of biodiversity and overlaid climate change scenarios to derive threats, vulnerabilities, and impacts of climate change on biodiversity. Existing policies and governance structures were analysed with regard to conservation and management of biodiversity, and adaptation potential was explored. The threat to biodiversity was found to be acute where most ecosystems are affected. Several species and habitats under risk were identified. The alpine ecosystems and the lowland riverine habitats were considered particularly vulnerable.
For more details on species-level range and abundance shifts, life cycle changes, evolutionary effects, and landscape level changes, see: Technical Report 2
The impacts of climate change on water, wetlands, and hazards were examined to understand the repercussions not only in the mountain regions of the Eastern Himalayas but also in the lowland regions. It was noted that increased surface air temperature and changes in precipitation and evapotranspiration adversely influenced the water resources in the region.
For details on functions and services of wetlands, see: Technical Report 3
For details on modelling climate change impacts on hydrology, see: Technical Report 4
For details on climate change impacts on hazards, see: Technical Report 5
With regard to climate change impacts on livelihoods and people’s wellbeing, the major area of serious impact was regarded to be agricultural production, upon which 70% of the population in the Eastern Himalayas depends. However, both positive and negative effects on crop production have been seen across various parts of the region.
For details on components affecting human wellbeing in the context of changing climate, see: Technical Report 6