PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (5): 644-654.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.05.011

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Adaptation of farming households under drought stress:Based on a survey in the Minqin Oasis

Sha YIN, Jia CHEN, Kongsen WU, Xinjun YANG*()   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China
  • Accepted:2016-01-01 Online:2016-05-27 Published:2016-05-27
  • Contact: Xinjun YANG;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571163


Adaptive capacity and its evaluation framework provide a new direction for the study of livelihoods of farming households. Considering the arid environment and based on theories about sustainable livelihoods of farming households and adaptive capacity, this article explores adaptive capacity and adaptive actions of farmers in the Minqin Oasis area. An adaptive capacity assessment index system of farming households was constructed. The research data were collected through a questionnaire survey and field investigations. Based on the classification of adaptive actions of farmers, this research measured the adaptive capacity of different adaptive types of farming households and analyzed the influencing factors of farmers’ adaptive types. The results are as follows: (1) With regard to the adaptive actions of farmers, more people chose active adaptive actions, while those who opted for reducing consumption and participating in social insurance were fewer. With regard to the adaptive types of farmers, the proportion of farming households that adopted comprehensive adaptation was the largest, whereas passive adaptation was adopted by the smallest number of households. (2) In terms of the adaptive capacity of farmers, generally speaking in each of the six dimensions a relatively balanced distribution was observed across different types of farming households, but there were significant differences between farming households with regard to natural resource endowments and social resources. On the other hand, material possession, financial resources, labor resources, and education were more balanced. Among different adaptive types, the adaptive capacity of comprehensive adaptation type was more stable, but the stability of migrant worker-dominant adaptation and passive adaptation types was poor. In the six dimensions of adaptive capacity and six adaptive types of farming households, material possession accounted for the largest contribution to adaptive capacity, while natural resource endowments contributed the least. (3) Among the indicators of adaptive capacity, household physical assets, proportion of non-agricultural employment, social network, per capita area of “returning farmland to forest and cutting down wells and field”, level of education, and so on had significant influences on farmers’ choice of adaptive actions.

Key words: drought stress, adaptive capacity, adaptive action, farming household, Minqin Oasis