In the journal Biology Letters. This would seem to indicate that there is a
role for anecdotal evidence if it is collected systematically and correlated
with scientific data.

perceptions of climate change validated by scientific evidence in the

   1. Pashupati
   2. Kamaljit S.


   1. 1Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02125,
   2. 2Sustainability Science Program, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
   02138, USA
   3. 3Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore
   560024, India

   1. *↵<>Author
   for correspondence ([log in to unmask]).


The Himalayas are assumed to be undergoing rapid climate change, with
serious environmental, social and economic consequences for more than two
billion people. However, data on the extent of climate change or its impact
on the region are meagre. Based on local knowledge, we report perceived
changes in climate and consequences of such changes for biodiversity and
agriculture. Our analyses are based on 250 household interviews administered
in 18 villages, and focused group discussions conducted in 10 additional
villages in Darjeeling Hills, West Bengal, India and Ilam district of Nepal.
There is a widespread feeling that weather is getting warmer, the water
sources are drying up, the onset of summer and monsoon has advanced during
last 10 years and there is less snow on mountains than before. Local
perceptions of the impact of climate change on biodiversity included early
budburst and flowering, new agricultural pests and weeds and appearance of
mosquitoes. People at high altitudes appear more sensitive to climate change
than those at low altitudes. Most local perceptions conform to scientific
data. Local knowledge can be rapidly and efficiently gathered using
systematic tools. Such knowledge can allow scientists to test specific
hypotheses, and policy makers to design mitigation and adaptation strategies
for climate change, especially in an extraordinarily important part of our
world that is experiencing considerable change.

Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor
have no food, they call me a Communist." -- Hélder Pessoa Câmara