Human societies in mountainous areas have evolved specific ways of dealing with the constraints imposed by the environment. A number of anthropological studies have documented the existence of practices that can be considered adaptive in the context of mountain environments. In this paper, I present a case study of a society in transition, in the northwestern Himalayas of India, in which local knowledge—combining aspects of traditional knowledge and practice—is used by farmers to cognize and cope with the uncertainty in their environment. Focusing on the perception of changes in the amount and timing of snowfall over the last three decades, I present a non-reductionist and nested model of human-environment interaction that explains the perception and knowledge of climate as a function of micro-level livelihood practices, as well as enduring and widely shared cultural notions of risk and vulnerability. The model being proposed encompasses agency and cognition at multiple levels, ranging from the local to the regional, and is explicated with ethnographic information, which demonstrates the resilient and dynamic nature of local knowledge. The paper’s major finding is that the perceptions of climate change in the region are shaped both by the local knowledge of crop-climate linkages, as well as the broader historical relationship with the environment.
Vedwan, Neeraj. "Culture, Climate and the Environment: Local Knowledge and Perception of Climate Change among Apple Growers in Northwestern India ." Journal of Ecological Anthropology 10, no. 1 (2006): 4-18.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jea/vol10/iss1/1