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Flexibility of Scope, Type and Temporality in Mustang, Nepal. Opportunities for Adaptation in a Farming System Facing Climatic and Market Uncertainty

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CICERO Center for International Climate and Environmental Research—Oslo, P.O.Box 1129 Blindern, N-0318 Oslo, Norway
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Department of Geography, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2013, 5(4), 1387-1405; https://doi.org/10.3390/su5041387
Received: 12 December 2012 / Revised: 23 January 2013 / Accepted: 1 March 2013 / Published: 25 March 2013
Climate change is projected to increase the seasonality in river flows in the great river systems of Himalaya and impose challenges to regional food production. Since climate change increases the uncertainty in local weather patterns, people’s ability to maintain local agricultural production will probably depend on how flexible the local farming systems are to adjust to unpredictable changes. The objective of this paper is to investigate the flexibility of one such farming system which is located in Mustang, Nepal, Himalaya. Defining flexibility as “uncommitted potentialities for change” following Gregory Bateson, the paper identifies opportunities for change in the farming system, as well as factors that constrain flexibility. Further developing the concept of flexibility, it is suggested that flexibility may be analyzed in terms of scope, type and temporal flexibility. Although there are several underexploited resources in the studied farming system, the present situation is not regarded as one of irrational and suboptimal exploitation of resources. Instead, unexploited resources imply opportunities for change, which provide the system with flexibility to rapidly adjust agricultural production to varying and uncertain conditions of production. View Full-Text
Keywords: flexibility; farming systems; climate change; adaptive capacity; uncertainty; Mustang; Nepal; Himalaya flexibility; farming systems; climate change; adaptive capacity; uncertainty; Mustang; Nepal; Himalaya
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Holmelin, N.; Aase, T.H. Flexibility of Scope, Type and Temporality in Mustang, Nepal. Opportunities for Adaptation in a Farming System Facing Climatic and Market Uncertainty. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1387-1405.

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