Analysis of the role of livelihood diversity to rural household resilience in drought condition: case study of the drought exposed areas of Isfahan province

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty member of Tarbiat Modares University

2 Phd Student at Tarbiat Modares University and Faculty Member of Research Institute for Planning, Agricultural Economy and Rural Development

3 Head of geography department and faculty member of Tarbiat Modares University


Iran one of the arid countries of the world that has always subjected to severe droughts. Previous studies show that in most years some parts or total areas of the country subjected to severe droughts. The present studies indicate that much of the country in recent years, experienced of severe droughts that unprecedented in severity and breadth. Drought in the past years had a lot of damage to agriculture and rural society in Iran. In recent decades, the focus of the cope with natural events and conditions, changed by adapting and live with them. This study concentrated on the diversity of living as one of the approaches for coping with drought conditions.
Analytical framework used in this paper is a sustainable livelihoods framework.
This framework as a way to improve understanding livelihoods and vulnerability contents of rural poor starts and ends with livelihood outcomes based on mechanisms of sustainable livelihoods. This framework can be tailored to fit with the problem of the drought-induced vulnerability and mechanisms leading to adaptation and resiliency in subsistence agricultural activities. Key concepts and variables in this framework include resilience, vulnerability, livelihood assets and livelihood strategies.
This study focused of 12 villages in the Isfahan province that have been affected to varying degrees of drought and different level of development. In addition, local institutions, rural experts and 227 rural farmer households are interviewed. In each of the selected villages in proportion to the number of farmer families stay in rural areas 15 to 25 Householder were selected and interviewed by systematic random selection method.
The results show that the approach adopted by the diversity of families living in drought conditions has led them to greater resilience. The villages with more drought condition have more household livelihood diversity level than villages with lower degree of drought. In this context, the people, especially poor people in rural areas are the center of attention, how they obtain livelihood for himself and his family. The framework is centered on livelihood resources and assets, if any, and using it for public access is provided. Access to the property is heavily affected by vulnerability. The major social, institutional and political environment effect on the composition and use of assets to achieve goals. Considering all Topics can be said that villages with less experience in the face of prolonged drought are more vulnerable because their economic and social structures are not prepared to deal with the drought and damaged their areas of livelihood assets. In the other hand villages with experience in the face of prolonged drought Structurally prepared to deal with the situation and they are in better condition.
The results shows that severity of the drought increased subsistence rural livelihood diversities. These results indicate that in villages with long experience and continuous drought livelihood diversification as a key strategy adopted for dealing with drought. The highest level of resilience show in villages with severe drought conditions and if drought reduced in village level, then resilience of rural households is reduced. Also the resilience is lowest in rural areas with low drought. Villages with a longer history of vulnerability (drought) have also been more severe droughts, more resilience prepared to deal with this condition. Significant positive correlation with the severity of the drought on the one hand and livelihood diversification approach and significant negative correlation with migration and intensive agriculture represents a positive effect of livelihood diversification on increasing the resilience and negative effect of migration and intensive agriculture to rural household resilience. Indicators of livelihood assets in the five components showed significant positive correlation with the diversity of livelihoods and household resiliency while has a positive relationship to the indicators of institutional and Infrastructural development as an intermediate factor to use livelihood approach. Meanwhile, the significant negative correlation between the migration and livelihood capital assets shows while livelihood stronger assets over there potential migration of households has declined. Also significant correlation between livelihood assets and intensive agriculture was not seen. The relationships between the variables studied and the results have confirmed the role of all aspects of livelihood assets to the use of proper approach to deal with drought conditions that in this society lead them to livelihood diversification as a suitable approach and enhancing the resilience of rural households are in severe drought conditions. In the other hand the lack of livelihood diversification even in villages that are less susceptible to drought caused low resilience in the face of drought conditions and more vulnerability in these villages have caused. Based on the results the most appropriate strategy to increase the resilience of rural households in drought conditions is diversifying sources of livelihood assets for rural households.


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