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The tea landscape of Assam: Multi-stakeholder insights into sustainable livelihoods under a changing climate

The tea landscape of Assam: Multi-stakeholder insights into sustainable livelihoods under a changing climate
The tea landscape of Assam: Multi-stakeholder insights into sustainable livelihoods under a changing climate

Tea plays a pivotal role in India's national economy, with the state of Assam the world's largest regional producer of black tea. However, various socio-environmental factors are threatening tea production and the livelihoods of millions of people reliant upon the industry. Little documentation exists which provides comprehensive spatial insights into tea production practices and associated livelihoods. Additionally, vulnerability from climate change to those livelihoods dependent upon the tea landscape has received limited multi-level stakeholder qualification. Consequently, this paper goes towards addressing this knowledge deficit through adopting a sustainable livelihoods approach for investigating the tea landscape of Assam. Mixed social survey methods were used to document responses from multiple stakeholder groups representing managers of commercial plantations, smallholders and tea workers. Results provide a comprehensive insight into the livelihoods of those reliant upon tea production activities across the four major tea growing regions of Assam. Outputs indicate that varying production practices are in place to optimise yield, increase livelihood resilience and manage the landscape effectively under a changing climate, with tea workers possessing varying diversity in assets to support their livelihoods. Outcomes from this research highlight the need for adaptable and climate-smart landscape activities, with active support from expert tea advisory agencies, to promote long-term socio-environmental sustainable cultivation of tea under changing climatic conditions.

Assam, Climate change, Crops, India, Land management, Livelihoods, Smallholders, South Asia, Sustainability, Tea
1462-9011
9-18
Biggs, Eloise M.
f0afed06-18ac-4a4d-841c-36ea4ff8a3b4
Gupta, Niladri
13c42036-c41f-4672-a8df-273a8410389a
Saikia, Sukanya D.
bc2c7f37-fffc-4d82-aab4-60f7a8540aa5
Duncan, John M.A.
59f5ebbd-d719-4e40-bcdd-7877478d2b42
Biggs, Eloise M.
f0afed06-18ac-4a4d-841c-36ea4ff8a3b4
Gupta, Niladri
13c42036-c41f-4672-a8df-273a8410389a
Saikia, Sukanya D.
bc2c7f37-fffc-4d82-aab4-60f7a8540aa5
Duncan, John M.A.
59f5ebbd-d719-4e40-bcdd-7877478d2b42

Biggs, Eloise M., Gupta, Niladri, Saikia, Sukanya D. and Duncan, John M.A. (2018) The tea landscape of Assam: Multi-stakeholder insights into sustainable livelihoods under a changing climate. Environmental Science & Policy, 82, 9-18. (doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2018.01.003).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Tea plays a pivotal role in India's national economy, with the state of Assam the world's largest regional producer of black tea. However, various socio-environmental factors are threatening tea production and the livelihoods of millions of people reliant upon the industry. Little documentation exists which provides comprehensive spatial insights into tea production practices and associated livelihoods. Additionally, vulnerability from climate change to those livelihoods dependent upon the tea landscape has received limited multi-level stakeholder qualification. Consequently, this paper goes towards addressing this knowledge deficit through adopting a sustainable livelihoods approach for investigating the tea landscape of Assam. Mixed social survey methods were used to document responses from multiple stakeholder groups representing managers of commercial plantations, smallholders and tea workers. Results provide a comprehensive insight into the livelihoods of those reliant upon tea production activities across the four major tea growing regions of Assam. Outputs indicate that varying production practices are in place to optimise yield, increase livelihood resilience and manage the landscape effectively under a changing climate, with tea workers possessing varying diversity in assets to support their livelihoods. Outcomes from this research highlight the need for adaptable and climate-smart landscape activities, with active support from expert tea advisory agencies, to promote long-term socio-environmental sustainable cultivation of tea under changing climatic conditions.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 5 January 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 13 January 2018
Published date: 1 April 2018
Keywords: Assam, Climate change, Crops, India, Land management, Livelihoods, Smallholders, South Asia, Sustainability, Tea

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417334
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417334
ISSN: 1462-9011
PURE UUID: 00d0980a-2891-43ca-afbf-4cd77540a33f

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Jan 2018 17:30
Last modified: 23 May 2018 16:32

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