Adapting to climate change: perspectives from rural communities in Lombok, eastern Indonesia

Gunawan, Lalu Adi (2015) Adapting to climate change: perspectives from rural communities in Lombok, eastern Indonesia. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

PDF (Thesis)
Download (2MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


Climate change and increasing variability will have especially profound adverse impacts upon the lives of rural communities in developing countries. However, households have differing asset bases and livelihood strategies, and therefore may have variable levels of vulnerability. Designing appropriate climate adaptation strategies must take these differences into account. This study examined the heterogeneity of vulnerability amongst rural communities in Lombok, Indonesia, and considers implications for climate adaptation policy interventions. Three villages, with differing natural resource bases, were selected as case studies: forest, rain-fed agriculture, and coastal fisheries and aquaculture. Based on a questionnaire survey (n=250), a household typology was generated. Cannon's (2008) vulnerability framework was applied to analyse the factors driving vulnerability for each household type in the villages. Interviews (n=72) with individuals from different household types were also employed to determine their perceptions about vulnerability and adaptation preferences. Participatory focus group discussions and social network mapping were also utilised to triangulate causes of vulnerability and dependencies between household types.

Three main key conclusions emerged. First, although climate variability contributes to increased livelihood vulnerability, the degradation of traditional institutions through modernisation and social change was considered to be a more serious problem. In particular, traditional institutions are an important source of adaptive capacity for poorer households. Second, community structures are complex, with different household types depending on one another for support. Social cohesion and mutual assistance are important for maintaining livelihood activities both in difficult times and during normal daily situations. Third, current development programs do not account for this variability of household types, their adaptation needs or the linkages between them. As a result, wealthier households benefit more than poorer ones, and there is little evidence of 'trickle down' benefits from rich to poor. This inequality could potentially lead to maladaptation.

These patterns were similar across all case study villages. However, the dynamic interactions among households types differed based on the strength of social cohesion and local institutions. Therefore adaptation policies must be better designed and be more egalitarian. Specifically they must restore and maintain traditional institutions and social capital. The 'vulnerability components framework' from Cannon (2008) was used to identify necessary intervention points for different household types. These components are interlinked to each other and enable understanding of what causes some people to be more at risk of a hazard than others.

Item ID: 46424
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: adaptation; climate change; community networks; households; Indonesia; livelihood vulnerability; Lombok; natural hazards; rural communities; rural conditions; social change; social networks; vulnerability frameworks
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2016 04:41
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 34%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 33%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1603 Demography > 160301 Family and Household Studies @ 33%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961006 Natural Hazards in Marine Environments @ 33%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 34%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940110 Environmental Services @ 33%
Downloads: Total: 529
Last 12 Months: 16
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page