Studies of the effects of droughts and fires on the livelihoods of resource-dependent rural smallholders have been reported for the Brazilian Amazon, but less so for other Amazonian countries. To bridge this gap in the literature, our research analyzes how climate-related variability affects different livelihood activities involving management of natural resources in Madre de Dios in Peru, located in the southwestern Amazon. Madre de Dios fell within the epicenters of both the 2005 and 2010 Amazon droughts. We examine one key question: What are the effects of extreme climatic events on different livelihood activities in communities located across Madre de Dios? We apply the key concepts of livelihood vulnerability to guide our conceptual framework. This concept organized our field inquiry, which consisted of survey questionnaires applied to rural producers and workshops with diverse stakeholders. Results show that climatic variability has affected many local livelihood activities and thereby increased the vulnerability of rural communities in Madre de Dios. The greatest impacts were felt in agriculture due to increased temperatures and fires followed by high winds and heavy rains. Our findings bear implications for science communication for policy. Climate politics will advance action on climate change if the tactic is to focus on how climate change means extreme climatic events that will cause damage to people, property, and livelihoods.

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Keywords Climate change variability, Fire, Madre de Dios, Peru, Rural livelihood, Vulnerability
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Journal Regional Environmental Change
Chavez Michaelsen, A. (Andrea), Huamani Briceño, L. (Leticia), Vilchez Baldeon, H. (Hector), Perz, S.G. (Stephen G.), Quaedvlieg, J.G.J, Rojas, R.O. (Rafael O.), … Pinedo Mora, R. (Raul). (2020). The effects of climate change variability on rural livelihoods in Madre de Dios, Peru. Regional Environmental Change, 20(2). doi:10.1007/s10113-020-01649-y