DRIER-China: Drought Resilience In Ecosystem services and Rural communities in China (2016-17) (NE/P015484/1)

Drought is a major hazard in developing countries, especially in Asia and Africa and in many countries is becoming an increasing problem as demand for water rises and the climate changes. In China, major droughts regularly occur over large

areas of the country. These droughts have impacts on water supplies to rural (and urban) communities, on crop growth and on local ecosystems. Ecosystem impacts of drought can then indirectly further influence rural communities, for example through increases in soil erosion or dust storms. The onset of drought can be defined in a number of ways (e.g. by lack of rainfall, impact on river flows, crop failure or lack of water supply for communities). The relationships between these different forms of drought and their impacts on rural communities in China are not fully understood. In addition, improved methods to forecast drought, assess risks and understand often complex impacts on rural communities, as well as assess the risks and benefits of potential solutions, are urgently needed if drought issues are to be tackled effectively and economic, social and environmental impacts are to be reduced. 

This project aims to address these challenges, by building an international network of researchers and end-users from across a range of disciplines (including humanities and social sciences) to identify key research gaps and build a research plan for a large integrated research programme to build the resilience of rural communities in China to drought events. 

This project is funded through a NERC GCRF Resilience Foundation Award Grant (NE/P015484/1).