PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (10): 1281-1293.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.10.010

• Special Issue: Health Geography and Human Settlement • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Rural household vulnerability to drought and adaptation mechanism on the Loess Plateau

Yuzhong SHI(), Jun WANG, Ziqiao WANG, Daming LU, Xinjun YANG*()   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Northwest University, Xi'an 710127, China
  • Online:2017-10-28 Published:2017-10-28
  • Contact: Xinjun YANG;
  • Supported by:
    Humanities and Social Sciences of Ministry of Education Fund, No.12YJC840040;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571163;Humanities and Social Science Talent Plan in Shaanxi Province


Analyzing vulnerability and adaptation to drought is an important part of the study on human-environment relationship in arid and semiarid regions. It has also become the new viewpoint of human-environment system sustainability research in the rural areas of northwestern China. This research adopted the framework of vulnerability analysis proposed by Turner and adapted it for analyzing rural household vulnerability and adaptation to drought on the Loess Plateau. It integrated and analyzed meteorological data and questionnaire survey to examine household drought vulnerability and difference and inspected the uncertainty of the results applying Principal Component Analysis, Difference Analysis, and Robustness Analysis methods. This study also revealed the mechanism of adaptation to drought with regard to adaptive capacity, adaptation strategies, and adaptation mode. The main results include: (1) there exist significant differences between the villages in drought vulnerability index values—the vulnerability value of Zhonglianchuan is higher than that of Hongjia; (2) with regard to adaptation mechanism, exposure-sensitivity influences farmer income, farmer livelihood system determinates adaptive capacity, and differences in the type of household, livelihood strategy, land use, irrigation facilities, and policy support generate different adaptation modes and consequence; (3) the high frequency and narrow range of household drought vulnerability index indicates relatively high robustness of the result.

Key words: rural household drought vulnerability, adaptation mechanism, robustness analysis, Loess Plateau