Rural households in developing countries face pressures to secure their livelihoods. Households feel the effects of changing rainfall patterns, droughts, cyclones, floods and increased temperatures, and draw on a wide range of resources to adapt – but some households are better equipped than others.

The authors explore the extent to which smallholder rural households can adapt to increased climate variability or climate change through assessing their adaptive capacity using elements of the rural livelihoods framework.

Almost 600 participants were engaged in discussions and interviews in India, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Laos to explore factors that condition their ability to adapt. The authors identify 36 key indicators of adaptive capacity.