Structural and psycho-social limits to climate change adaptation in the great barrier reef region

Evans, Louisa S. and Hicks, Christina and Adger, W. Neil and Barnett, Jon and Perry, Allison J. and Fidelman, Pedro and Tobin, Renae (2016) Structural and psycho-social limits to climate change adaptation in the great barrier reef region. PLoS ONE, 11 (3). ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Adaptation, as a strategy to respond to climate change, has limits: there are conditions under which adaptation strategies fail to alleviate impacts from climate change. Research has primarily focused on identifying absolute bio-physical limits. This paper contributes empirical insight to an emerging literature on the social limits to adaptation. Such limits arise from the ways in which societies perceive, experience and respond to climate change. Using qualitative data from multi-stakeholder workshops and key-informant interviews with representatives of the fisheries and tourism sectors of the Great Barrier Reef region, we identify psycho-social and structural limits associated with key adaptation strategies, and examine how these are perceived as more or less absolute across levels of organisation. We find that actors experience social limits to adaptation when: i) the effort of pursuing a strategy exceeds the benefits of desired adaptation outcomes; ii) the particular strategy does not address the actual source of vulnerability, and; iii) the benefits derived from adaptation are undermined by external factors. We also find that social limits are not necessarily more absolute at higher levels of organisation: respondents perceived considerable opportunities to address some psycho-social limits at the national-international interface, while they considered some social limits at the local and regional levels to be effectively absolute.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
PLoS ONE
Additional Information:
© 2016 Evans et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700
Subjects:
ID Code:
79287
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
18 May 2016 10:36
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
31 Mar 2020 04:05