Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods: Climate Change at the Interface of Parks and People

Open Access
Schumacher, Britta Lee
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Larry James Gorenflo, Thesis Supervisor
  • Roger Michael Downs, Honors Advisor
  • climate change
  • livelihood sustainability
  • food security
  • food sovereignty
  • Tanzania
  • agriculture
  • conservation
One of the greatest challenges faced in the 21st century is developing comprehensive policy and management methods that maintain the diversity of life on Earth while meeting the demands of an increasing global population in an ever-changing world. This challenge is especially evident in areas where rural peoples depend heavily on natural capital and resources to supplement their livelihoods and where the effects of climate change are most immediately felt. Uncovering these plausible management and policy solutions is of extreme importance in the Udzungwa Mountains region of the Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania, in particular due to the proximity of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park (UMNP) to a population of at least 60,000 commercial and subsistence agriculturalists it supports on its eastern border. To begin to uncover the possible indirect consequences of climate change on UMNP first requires understanding the likely impacts of climate change on people. For agriculturalists, the most meaningful impact is on crop yields. Thus, establishing a baseline of production and food security in one village, Mang’ula B, acts to provide a basis for considering possible impacts of climate change on UMNP through the lens of sustainable livelihoods. Fieldwork and interviews, providing insights on people’s perceptions of climate change and its impacts on agricultural production, complemented the analysis of sustainable livelihoods. Quantitative climatological and agricultural data, coupled with insights of local people, are the basis of this study, the latter helping to understand better the challenges of decreasing food security and livelihood sustainability from changing climate faced by residents of Mang’ula B. The results of this research suggest a bleak future where traditional agricultural methods yield minimal production and food security and livelihood sustainability falters, possibly threatening the integrity of UMNP and the Udzungwas.