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Article
Peer-Review Record

Vulnerability Assessment of Forest Fringe Villages of Madhya Pradesh, India for Planning Adaptation Strategies

Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031253
Reviewer 1: Asif Ishtiaque
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Jim Perry
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031253
Received: 12 November 2019 / Revised: 23 January 2020 / Accepted: 5 February 2020 / Published: 10 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

I thank the authors for their efforts. This is an interesting paper. I have some observations below.

The introduction part is confusing. Authors need to provide more evidence on why do they think climate change will affect 'forest-fringe' areas. They talked about temperature and precipitation but how it will impact forest? Why forest-fringe areas become important, why not any other place? Forest-fringe is in their title, but there's not sufficient explanation on why it's important. Also, There was no literature on forest fringe study areas and their vulnerabilities. 

Line 16: Check for grammars (... 29 villages in..)

Line 49-50: This is a crude statement that exposure and sensitivity are climate-related only. They can be found at HH level as well. I would suggest the authors to read indicator-based vulnerability papers to get ideas on how exposure and sensitivity can exist at HH level. To give an example, education or family size can be treated as 'sensitivity'. 

Line 53-54: The authors said 'many' studies but put only one reference. Also, climate variable data can be downscaled. 

Line 57-58: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report- capitalized each word.

Line 70-72 is irrelevant.

Line 95: malaria comes from nowhere. 

 

No map of the study area has been provided. Also, why forest becomes so important that the study areas were selected based on that, this is not clear.

 

Line 317: How did the authors come up with the idea of categorizing vulnerability? What was the logic?

 

Overall, I think the 'forest' part is totally irrelevant in this study. The authors should justify or remove it. Also, they should provide an explanation of why did they randomly selected two districts that are not adjacent. The authors should think from the reader's perspective. Why do we bother about two random villages? I would suggest instead of focusing on 'forest-fringe'vulnerability, the authors should focus on how social class, accessibility can cause vulnerability. They should frame their argument from that perspective.

The paper used a common approach of vulnerability analysis. The findings are interesting but without the justification of study area selection, improvisation of the intro part this paper should not be published.

 

Author Response

S.N.

Reviewer 1 comments

Response to reviewer 

1

The introduction part is confusing. Authors need to provide more evidence on why they think climate change will affect 'forest-fringe' areas. They talked about temperature and precipitation but how it will impact forest? Why forest-fringe areas become important, why not any other place? Forest-fringe is in their title, but there's not sufficient explanation on why it's important. Also, There was no literature on forest fringe study areas and their vulnerabilities

Introduction section is revised and reference has been cited for effect of climate change in forest fringe areas.

2

Line 16: Check for grammars (... 29 villages in..)

Changed

 

3

Line 49-50: This is a crude statement that exposure and sensitivity are climate-related only. They can be found at HH level as well. I would suggest the authors to read indicator-based vulnerability papers to get ideas on how exposure and sensitivity can exist at HH level. To give an example, education or family size can be treated as 'sensitivity'

Revised

4

Line 53-54: The authors said 'many' studies but put only one reference. Also, climate variable data can be downscaled

Revised

5

Line 57-58: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report- capitalized each word

Changed

6

Line 70-72 is irrelevant

Removed

7

Line 95: malaria comes from nowhere

Removed

8

No map of the study area has been provided. Also, why forest becomes so important that the study areas were selected based on that, this is not clear

Study site is already with figure 1 which is cited in study site. Further forest is main source of livelihood for these people

9

Line 317: How did the authors come up with the idea of categorizing vulnerability? What was the logic.

Explained in text

Reviewer 2 Report

This article is about the vulnerability assessment of forest fringe villages at India for planning. A total of 325 households spread in 29 villages are chosen for primary data collection. There are some improvements need to be made before considering for publication.

1, Need to specify the method and the data source in the abstract. And which year of the data is analyzed in this study? The readers should get all the basic information from the abstract.

2, Line 239, ‘The social structure of India is grouped in to four classes’. Are the classes defined by the government or this study? It is not clear what these four classes stand for. Is there any relationship between ‘the social structure’ and ‘economic class’? Is there any overlap of information between all the selected factors?

3, Need to elaborate more of the limitation of this study, and the next step of this study.

Author Response

SN

Reviewer 2 comments

Responses

1

This article is about the vulnerability assessment of forest fringe villages at India for planning. A total of 325 households spread in 29 villages are chosen for primary data collection. There are some improvements need to be made before considering for publication

Improved as per suggestion

2

Need to specify the method and the data source in the abstract. And which year of the data is analyzed in this study? The readers should get all the basic information from the abstract

Inserted in abstract section

3

Line 239, ‘The social structure of India is grouped in to four classes’. Are the classes defined by the government or this study? It is not clear what these four classes stand for. Is there any relationship between ‘the social structure’ and ‘economic class’? Is there any overlap of information between all the selected factors?....

These are government terminology

Reviewer 3 Report

This is an excellent. well designed study clearly presented. The significance is high and the data lead to solid conclusions. I have taken the liberty of saving in Word and Tracking suggested changes for readability and I suggest clarifying the last two sentences of the abstract to ensure they agree with the conclusions

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

SN

Reviewer 2 comments

Responses

1

This is an excellent. Well-designed study clearly presented. The significance is high and the data lead to solid conclusions. I have taken the liberty of saving in Word and Tracking suggested changes for changes for readability and I suggest clarifying the last two sentences of the abstract to ensure they agree with the conclusions

Revised

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

I would like to point out one thing first. The authors should have done a better job in response to the reviewers' comments. Only writing "revised"/"improved" is not sufficient. The authors should prepare this response in a way that will not require an additional inspection of the main document. They should specify what changes they made.

Now, about the response. The authors did not change anything substantially. The way they changed, I cannot accept it. My previous comments will prevail. To give an example, I am still finding it difficult to understand why the forest is an important factor here? The findings they got, they may find it anywhere. Why do they think "forest-fringe" locations will show something different?  The study area description doesn't tell us about the livelihood of people (% of people depend on the forest/agriculture etc.). The study site map does not show the locations of the forests. Also, the categorization of vulnerability score is still obscure. I will 'again' suggest them to read and refer to the following articles and other articles on the social vulnerability index.

Yoon, D. K. (2012). Assessment of social vulnerability to natural disasters: a comparative study. Natural hazards63(2), 823-843.

Ishtiaque, A., Eakin, H., Chhetri, N., Myint, S. W., Dewan, A., & Kamruzzaman, M. (2019). Examination of coastal vulnerability framings at multiple levels of governance using spatial MCDA approach. Ocean & coastal management171, 66-79.

 

Most importantly, their introduction part is still absent from the justification of their "forest" based selection of study area and how climate change will affect the forest-based livelihoods. They literally added one sentence without any explanation. I will suggest them to search in "Google Scholar" and read articles on this issue. 

Lastly, check the grammars as well.

At this current stage, if these changes are not made, I will not be able to accept this paper. 

 

 

Author Response

S.N.

Reviewer 1 comments

Response to reviewer 

1

Why forest is an important factor here? Why do you think the forest fringe location will show something different?

 

The introduction part is confusing. Authors need to provide more evidence on why they think climate change will affect 'forest-fringe' areas. They talked about temperature and precipitation but how it will impact forest? Why forest-fringe areas become important, why not any other place? Forest-fringe is in their title, but there's not sufficient explanation on why it's important. Also, There was no literature on forest fringe study areas and their vulnerabilities

 

 

The introduction section has been suitable revised as per the specific comments of the reviewers. The first paragraph of the introduction conclude with the rationale and significance for vulnerability assessment of forest-dependent community. The specific insertion is: “Moreover, climate change and cliamate variability are threatening the delivery of a range of crucial goods and environmental services from forests on which an estimated 1.6 billion people fully or partly depend globally (Braatz, 2012). Thus climate change impacts on forests will hit the forest-dependent community hardest, making them further vulnerable. It is therefore climate change vulnerability assessment of forest-dependent people is important to design suiatable adaptation startegies (FAO & CIFOR, 2019).” 

Similarly in the fourth paragraph, we have again highlighted the need for vulnerability assessment in Indian Context and the specific insertion is:  The estimated livelihood dependency of these communities on forest varies from 37 to 76% (Bahuguna, 2000). As a result, the livelihood of indigenous communities residing in the forest are inseparable from the forests, following their use of forest ecosystem goods and services. Climate change is likely to impact Indian forest (Chaturvedi et al 2011), which in turn will affect the livelihoods of the forest fringe villages.

2

Line 16: Check for grammars (... 29 villages in..)

Changed as per suggestion

 

3

Line 49-50: This is a crude statement that exposure and sensitivity are climate-related only. They can be found at HH level as well. I would suggest the authors to read indicator-based vulnerability papers to get ideas on how exposure and sensitivity can exist at HH level. To give an example, education or family size can be treated as 'sensitivity'

The number of indicator may be classified as adaptive capacity or sensitivity at household’s level. Therefore sentence is modified

4

Line 53-54: The authors said 'many' studies but put only one reference. Also, climate variable data can be downscaled

Another study of vulnerability has been added

5

Line 57-58: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report- capitalized each word

Word is capitalized

6

Line 70-72 is irrelevant

Removed from text

7

Line 95: malaria comes from nowhere

It was one example, now Removed from text

8

No map of the study area has been provided. Also, why forest becomes so important that the study areas were selected based on that, this is not clear

Study site is already with figure 1 which is cited in study site. Further forest is main source of livelihood for these people

9

Line 317: How did the authors come up with the idea of categorizing vulnerability? What was the logic.

The idea of categorization was taken from Antwi et al, 2015, who divided vulnerability score into high, moderate and low

Reviewer 2 Report

This version is fine. 

Author Response

Reviewer comments have been incorporated

Round 3

Reviewer 1 Report

The introduction part looks better. 

I have still a concern about the vulnerability categorization. I think I did not make myself clear enough. Apologies for that. Categorization is an important part of vulnerability analysis. Because a wrong categorization can lead to the misidentification of a low vulnerable area as a moderate vulnerable area. 

There are some methods of classification, such as equal interval, quantile, natural breaks (Jenks), std. deviation. One should not arbitrarily categorize vulnerability scores as low, medium, or high. The authors referred to Antwi et al. (2015) paper. In that paper, the authors relied on stakeholder perception and categorized each indicator before creating the composite index. On the other hand, the current paper doesn't have stakeholder participation and if authors categorized based on their judgment (without explanation), that will not be appropriate.  

As such, unless the authors specify which methods did they follow in categorizing the vulnerability scores, this paper should not be published. I understand they used SPSS software, but they should tell us which method the software used. 

Furthermore, this paper still lacks a good study area image. I would suggest putting a high-resolution image with forest locations along with villages.

Thank you for the effort.

Author Response

S.N.

Reviewer 1 comments

Response to reviewer 

1

I have still a concern about the vulnerability categorization. I think I did not make myself clear enough. Apologies for that. Categorization is an important part of vulnerability analysis. Because a wrong categorization can lead to the misidentification of a low vulnerable area as a moderate vulnerable area.

The categorization of vulnerability was based on visual binning technique of SPSS which is based on principle of equal width interval. Apart of this, the authors has also taken stakeholder perception for categorizing low, moderate and high.

 

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

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