Climate change has resulted in negative impacts upon rural communities, notably in the Global South; these impacts expose vulnerabilities that exist on individual and societal levels, necessitating consideration of adaptive capacity given the climate change threat, as well as the role of government in responding to hazards, and encouraging resilience and sustainability.
Climate change has been defined as “long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates” 
. Climate change causes direct effects, including death and destruction through the impact of extreme events, such as floods, wildfires, and hurricanes/typhoons, and indirect effects, like disruption of plant and animal species, and individual trauma as people attempt to respond to changing circumstances 
. Direct effects, like flooding, may be quite noticeable, but the slow-developing, long-term implications of climate change, such as increasing poverty and loss of biodiversity 
, may be less obvious but arguably more devastating to the world’s future. Rural areas, described as “sparsely populated, [having] low housing density, and … far from urban centers” 
, are transforming, with shifts in employment, sociocultural factors, and concerns about the future of such areas related to infrastructure 
. Coupled with climate change, effects on rural communities are complex and worthy of understanding and exploration. While climate change impacts on rural areas are a global problem, in the Global South there exists a “a large and growing gap between needs and action on climate change adaptation” 
This entry considers the impact of climate change on rural communities, focusing on vulnerability of these areas and their inhabitants, and adaptation efforts; the literature is generally considered, but specific attention is paid to cases involving the Global South. Understanding of the experiences of the Global South is relevant to strategies and policymaking elsewhere, as the threat of climate change continues. First, a review of climate change, with an emphasis on extreme events, sources of vulnerability and risk, and adaptation, is undertaken, given a review of the literature. Next, perspectives are offered on climate change’s impacts in agriculture, with a focus on smallholder farming. A discussion of government, trust, and collective action in rural communities considering climate change follows. A conclusion with opportunities for future research completes the entry.