Socio-ecological resilience as a sustainable development strategy for remote rural settlements in different geo-climatic zones of India

Socio-Ecological Systems (SESs) play a fundamental role in determining the inherent capacities of rural communities located in and around natural systems like forest areas, as SESs are intricately linked with the environment. In the wake of climate change, the customary human-nature relationships found in such remote communities are alleged to be perishing as the local SESs are being distorted by the changing environmental conditions. Since a large proportion of the rural population in India lives in and around natural systems, the country is increasingly vulnerable to climate impacts. Further, being placed in diverse geo-climatic settings, remote rural communities in India are often side-lined from the mainstream development process. This study pushes for a community-centric approach for establishing a better understanding of risk perceptions and local priorities for risk reduction. With an explicit focus on SESs in remote rural communities, this study has come up with a defined set of indicators in consideration with diverse geo-climate settings in India. These indicators are used to study the existing situation in eight selected rural settlements from four different areas in India: Melghat region, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, Katrenikona Mandal and Zunheboto region.