Indigenous knowledge in climate change adaptation: Case studies of ethnic minorities in the Northern Mountain Region of Vietnam
KIEU, Thi Thu Huong1*; NGUYEN, Thi Ngan1; NGUYEN, Thi Hien Thuong1; VU, Thi Hai Anh1; NGUYEN, Do Huong Giang1; NGUYEN, Quang Tan2
1Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry, Thai Nguyen City, Vietnam; 2International University, Hue University, Hue City, Vietnam
This study aims to investigate the indigenous knowledge (IK) of three ethnic minority groups in the Northern Mountain Region (NMR) of Vietnam. The groups include (1) Tay people who live at lower elevations; (2) a Dao community who tend to live in the middle elevations and (3) Hmong farmers who mainly reside at higher elevations areas of the mountain. This research intends to identify climate change (CC) and its impact on agricultural cultivation and find out how these groups can adapt to CC by applying their IK in agriculture practices. Data was collected through focus group discussions (n=9), in-depth interviews (n=80), and participant observation. From the 80 respondents, 27 live in Bac Kan province, 23 in Yen Bai province and 30 in Son La province; those who had experience in agricultural production, elderly and village heads. The results show that the NMR weather has significant changes that negatively impact agriculture cultivation and local livelihood. Although the respondents are from different ethnic minorities, these farmers are highly aware of the CC risks, leading into adaptation practices. While the Tay people's major adaptation strategies include the use of a variety of native plants and changing planting calendars, the Dao and Hmong people apply intercropping and local techniques methods in terracing fields using local varieties of livestock. Our findings highlight the importance of using the IK of ethnic minorities in adaptation towards CC. A better targeting about the use of local resources in future national policies and projects is encouraged.