Identifying thresholds and barriers to adaptation through measuring climate sensitivity and capacity to change in an Australian primary industry

Marshall, Nadine, and Stokes, Chris J. (2014) Identifying thresholds and barriers to adaptation through measuring climate sensitivity and capacity to change in an Australian primary industry. Climatic Change, 126. pp. 399-411.

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Primary producers, including graziers, crop farmers and commercial fishers are especially vulnerable to climate change because they depend on highly climate-sensitive natural resources. Adaptation to climate change will make a major difference to the severity of the impacts experienced. However, individuals (resource users) can erect sometimes seemingly peculiar barriers to potential adaptation options that need to be addressed if adaptation is to be effective. Our aim was to understand the nature of barriers to change for cattle graziers in the northern Australian rangelands. We conceptualised barriers as adverse reactions where resource users are unlikely to contemplate adaptations that threaten core values or perceptions about themselves. We assumed that resource users that were more sensitive to climate change impacts—or more dependent on the resource—were more proximate to thresholds of coping and thus more likely to erect barriers, especially people with little adaptive capacity. Given that climate sensitivity and adaptive capacity are important components of vulnerability, our approach was to conduct a vulnerability assessment to identify potential but important barriers to change. Data from 240 graziers suggest that graziers in northern Australia might be especially vulnerable to climate change because their identity, place attachment, low employability, weak networks and dependents can make them sensitive to change, and their sensitivity can be compounded by a low adaptive capacity. We argue that greater attention needs to be placed on the social context of climate change impacts and on the processes shaping vulnerability and adaptation, especially at the scale of the individual.

Item ID: 38905
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-1480
Funders: Federal Department for Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (DAFF), CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship
Projects and Grants: DAFF Meat and Livestock Association project B.NBP.0617
Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 03:49
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
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