Event Title

Lessons for assessing and building adaptive capacity of coastal social-ecological systems

Presentation Abstract

Coastal communities experience a wide range of environmental, climatic, and socio-political changes to which they must adapt. Due the complexity and speed of change in coastal social-ecological systems, there is significant academic and practical interest in assessing and fostering the adaptive capacity of coastal communities. Adaptive capacity refers to the latent ability of a system to respond proactively and positively to stressors or opportunities. A variety of qualitative, quantitative, and participatory approaches have been used to understand the adaptive capacity of coastal communities and linked social-ecological systems. Each approach has different benefits and drawbacks and leads to distinct insights depending on scale, context, and application. Drawing on the results of an OceanCanada Partnership working group on adaptive capacity, this paper describes and compares a suite of techniques that are often used to study adaptive capacity to social, environmental and climatic change. Through case studies from the Salish Sea and elsewhere, we present a set of considerations and best practices for assessing adaptive capacity. Key considerations for evaluating adaptive capacity include: clearly defining the context and problem; being cognizant of the goals of those participating in the analysis; paying attention to scale (temporal and spatial); assessing responses to social and ecological change in an integrative fashion, and considering equity and well being. We also identify best practices in both choosing an assessment tool and linking results to the policy and practice of building adaptive capacity. To conclude, we synthesize some of the general insights and broadly applicable interventions for augmenting the adaptive capacity of coastal communities to social-ecological change.

Session Title

Behavior Change and the Salish Sea: Science and Application

Keywords

Key words: Adaptive capacity; climate change; social-ecological systems; transformation; resilience; coastal communities; vulnerability; climate impact; environmental change; risk assessment

Conference Track

People

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type

Event

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Comments

Key words: Adaptive capacity; climate change; social-ecological systems; transformation; resilience; coastal communities; vulnerability; climate impact; environmental change; risk assessment

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Lessons for assessing and building adaptive capacity of coastal social-ecological systems

2016SSEC

Coastal communities experience a wide range of environmental, climatic, and socio-political changes to which they must adapt. Due the complexity and speed of change in coastal social-ecological systems, there is significant academic and practical interest in assessing and fostering the adaptive capacity of coastal communities. Adaptive capacity refers to the latent ability of a system to respond proactively and positively to stressors or opportunities. A variety of qualitative, quantitative, and participatory approaches have been used to understand the adaptive capacity of coastal communities and linked social-ecological systems. Each approach has different benefits and drawbacks and leads to distinct insights depending on scale, context, and application. Drawing on the results of an OceanCanada Partnership working group on adaptive capacity, this paper describes and compares a suite of techniques that are often used to study adaptive capacity to social, environmental and climatic change. Through case studies from the Salish Sea and elsewhere, we present a set of considerations and best practices for assessing adaptive capacity. Key considerations for evaluating adaptive capacity include: clearly defining the context and problem; being cognizant of the goals of those participating in the analysis; paying attention to scale (temporal and spatial); assessing responses to social and ecological change in an integrative fashion, and considering equity and well being. We also identify best practices in both choosing an assessment tool and linking results to the policy and practice of building adaptive capacity. To conclude, we synthesize some of the general insights and broadly applicable interventions for augmenting the adaptive capacity of coastal communities to social-ecological change.