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Climate 2019, 7(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7010014

Cardamom Casualties: Extreme Weather Events and Ethnic Minority Livelihood Vulnerability in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands

1
School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
2
Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0B9, Canada
3
School of Philosophy and Political Science, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming 650500, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2019 / Published: 18 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Abstract

In the wake of important economic reforms and an ongoing agrarian transition, non-timber forest products, most notably black cardamom, have emerged as significant trade options for ethnic minority farmers in the mountainous Sino-Vietnamese borderlands. Yet, after a series of harsh winters had already crippled cardamom harvests in the 2000s, extreme weather in 2016 decimated the cardamom plantations of hundreds of farming households. Drawing from sustainable livelihoods, livelihood diversification, and vulnerability literatures, we investigate the multiple factors shaping how these harvest failures have affected ethnic minority cultivator livelihoods. Focusing on four case study villages, two in Yunnan, and two in northern Vietnam, we analyse the coping and adaptation strategies Hmong, Yao, Hani, and Yi minority farmers have adopted. We find that farmers’ decisions and strategies have been rooted in a complex ensemble of factors including their degree of market access, other livelihood opportunities available to them, cultural traditions and expectations, and state development strategies. Moreover, we find that in recent years the Chinese and Vietnamese states have stood-by as affected cultivators have struggled to reorganize their livelihoods, suggesting that the impacts of extreme weather events might even serve state projects to further agrarian transitions in these borderlands. View Full-Text
Keywords: extreme weather events; vulnerability; livelihoods; ethnic minorities; cardamom; Sino-Vietnamese borderlands extreme weather events; vulnerability; livelihoods; ethnic minorities; cardamom; Sino-Vietnamese borderlands
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Rousseau, J.-F.; Turner, S.; Xu, Y. Cardamom Casualties: Extreme Weather Events and Ethnic Minority Livelihood Vulnerability in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands. Climate 2019, 7, 14.

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