Perceptions of climate and climate change by Amazonian communities

In our most recent research article Perceptions of climate and climate change by Amazonian communities in Global Environmental Change Journal, lead by Beatriz Funatsu, we analyze the perceptions of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples to climate and climate change in 5 different sites in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. The project entitled DURAMAZ-II is a cohort study developed between France and Brazil.

Perceptions of climate and climate change by Amazonian communities

Abstract:

The Amazon region has been undergoing profound transformations since the late ‘70s through forest degradation, land use changes and effects of global climate change. The perception of such changes by local communities is important for risk analysis and for subsequent societal decision making. In this study, we compare and contrast observations and perceptions of climate change by selected Amazonian communities particularly vulnerable to alterations in precipitation regimes. Two main points were analyzed: (i) the notion of changes in the annual climate cycle and (ii) the notion of changes in rainfall patterns. About 72% of the sampled population reports perceptions of climate changes, and there is a robust signal of increased perception with age. Other possible predictive parameters such as gender, fishing frequency and changes in/planning of economic activities do not appear overall as contributing to perceptions. The communities’ perceptions of the changes in 2013–2014 were then compared to earlier results (2007–2008), providing an unprecedented cohort study of the same sites. Results show that climate change perceptions and measured rainfall variations differ across the basin. It was only in the southern part of the Amazon that both measured and perceived changes in rainfall patterns were consistent with decreased precipitation. However, the perception of a changing climate became more widespread and frequently mentioned, signaling an increase in awareness of climate risk.

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