Re-conceptualising adaptation to climate change as part of pathways of change and response

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Wise, Russ; Fazey, Ioan; Stafford Smith, Mark; Park, Sarah; Eakin, Hallie; Archer Van Garderen, Emma; Campbell, Bruce


2014-01-11


Journal Article


Global Environmental Change


28


0


325–336


Despite the growing intensity of calls for more decision-oriented approaches to adaptation research and practice, we found low rates of implementation of adaptation actions across a selection of case studies and reported in the literature. Moreover, implemented actions have been mostly incremental and focused on proximate causes with few reports of societal transformations. The framing of adaptation was found to be an important factor influencing the nature and effectiveness of response actions. Recent progressive decision-oriented approaches to adaptation research and practice draw upon a “pathways” metaphor to help emphasize the need for robust decision making within adaptive processes in the face of high uncertainty and inter-temporal complexity. These approaches are powerful for informing incremental adaptations to proximate causes of vulnerability but take prevailing governance regimes as given and assume these are conducive for adaptation. In this paper we propose and explore a broader conceptualisation of the adaptation pathways perspective that considers the implications of path dependency, interactions between adaptation plans, vested interests and global change, and situations where prevailing values, interests, or institutions constrain societal responses to change. This conceptualisation of adaptation as part of pathways of change and response is designed to inform decision makers about the need for and how to integrate incremental actions on proximate causes with the transformative aspects of societal change. The paper ends with a call for further exploration of the theory, methods and procedures to operationalise this broader conceptualisation of adaptation.


Elsevier


adaptation, climate change, global change, pathways, transformation, incremental, conceptual framework, decision making


Social Change


https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.12.002


Link to Publisher's Version


EP133214


Journal article - Refereed


English


Wise, Russ; Fazey, Ioan; Stafford Smith, Mark; Park, Sarah; Eakin, Hallie; Archer Van Garderen, Emma; Campbell, Bruce. Re-conceptualising adaptation to climate change as part of pathways of change and response. Global Environmental Change. 2014; 28(0):325–336. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.12.002



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