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Climate change exacerbates ecosystem degradation in Sahel where rural communities are highly dependent on natural resources and ecosystem services for their livelihoods. In order cope with the adverse effects of climate change by developing climate adaptation strategies, there has been a need to understand how communities perceive the change or variability in their local climate and how this change could affect their livelihood. This paper aims to examined rural communities’ perceptions about climate change in the commune of Chetimari located in the region of Diffa, southeastern Niger. It investigated particularly: 1) how communities’ perceptions of climate change? 2) What are the impacts of climate change on the livelihood of communities? And 3) What do elements and options to detect abrupt change points in annual precipitations and both annual maximum and minimum temperature? Survey data were collected from October to November 2018 from 101 households (15% of the total households in the study area) in three villages. Multiple correspondence Analysis (MCA) and Factorial Correspondence Analysis (FCA) were performed with XLSTAT to analyzed data from survey. Meteorological data including Monthly precipitation from 1981 to 2017, and Monthly temperatures (maximum, minimum) from 1986 to 2017 of the Diffa meteorological station were analyzed using R to perform the Man Kendal trend test and the Pettit test for detection of abrupt changes in the series. Results showed that community perceptions on temperature increase (not for precipitation) trends as indicators of climate change are in agreement with meteorologically observed trends. The findings showed that people in this zone are aware of climate change that they see as increase in maximum and minimum temperature, decrease in rainfall, frequency of extreme events (drought and flood), dry spells, decrease in number of rainy days, strong winds etc…Results revealed the most significant impacts of climate change affecting the livelihood of rural communities in this area. These are higher risk of crop damage from drought, farmer and herder conflict frequency, drying up of wells, food shortage/insecurity, silting pools, decline in soil fertility and livestock production, silting pasture areas, frequency of livestock diseases, increased weed and invasive species, livestock mortality. The perception of the climate change and its impacts on the main socioeconomic activities vary from a village to another, according the sexes and age ranges.
We conclude that communities are relatively aware about the climate change issue. For a better management of climate-induced risks in the study area we stress the need to improve the awareness of climate change within the rural community by improving the availability and the quality of relevant climate information.
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