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Developing a vulnerability and adaptation assessment framework for application in tropical island communities

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Item Summary

Title: Developing a vulnerability and adaptation assessment framework for application in tropical island communities
Authors: McLeod, Elizabeth Lee
Keywords: climate change
coastal communities
rising sea levels
Issue Date: Dec 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2012]
Abstract: Climate change, and particularly sea-level rise, threatens tropical coastal communities and ecosystems. Governments, resource managers, and communities recognize the value of assessing the social and ecological impacts of climate change, but there has been little consensus on assessment frameworks that are capable of supporting vulnerability and adaptation studies. This dissertation presents an assessment framework that addresses the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of coastal communities and environments at the local scale in response to climate change impacts. The final framework includes six components: 1) scoping and project design; 2) assessing current sensitivity and exposure; 3) assessing current adaptive capacity; 4) assessing future vulnerability; 5) identifying adaptation strategies; and 6) developing an implementation plan. The final framework incorporates recommendations from experts in climate vulnerability and adaptation research using the Delphi technique, a group facilitation technique used to achieve convergence of opinion using expert knowledge, and focus groups with a coastal community directly experiencing climate change impacts. The research addresses gaps in previous vulnerability assessment frameworks by explicitly including adaptive capacity and adaptation options that inform policy and conservation management decisions. It also solicits community input into the identification of activities needed to assess adaptive capacity, and comprehensively addresses both social and ecological factors that affect vulnerability to climate change. The framework was developed to assist coastal resource managers proactively plan for climate change impacts, and support the preservation of ecosystem services for coastal communities and critical coastal habitats.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/100849
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Geography



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