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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Berardi, Gigi M.

Second Advisor

Paci-Green, Rebekah

Third Advisor

Bach, Andrew J.


Agriculture plays an important role in Western Washington's culture, economy, and environment. However, agriculture as it has been practiced over its 150-year history in the region is currently threatened by several changes differing in severity and onset speed. This thesis examines the adaptation of farmers to the changing system in which they are situated by exploring how they view vulnerability and threat; what strategies they suggest might aid in adaptation; and how farmers situate themselves and their operations within larger socio-ecological systems. I derive my data from disaster planning workshops in which farmers from each of three counties participated in facilitated discussion identifying threats, potential thresholds to irreversible change, and suggested adaptive strategies to counter perceived threats. I find that although the skill set required to successfully farm theoretically involves a great deal of resilience and adaptability, farmers' notions of resilience and adaptation hinge on stability and predictability, characteristics theoretically differing from resilience. Further research on the apparent conflict between desired stability and the development of resilience in agricultural systems might help in understanding the origin and nature of the apparent conflict and steps that may resolve it.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Farmers--Washington (State), Western--Attitudes; Agricultural industries--Washington (State), Western--Management; Resilience (Personality trait)--Washington (State), Western

Geographic Coverage

Washington (State), Western




masters theses




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