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03:27 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2012

Transformational capacity and the influence of place and identity

Climate change is altering the productivity of natural resources with far-reaching implications for those who depend on them. Resource-dependent industries and communities need the capacity to adapt to a range of climate risks if they are to remain viable. In some instances, the scale and nature of the likely impacts means that transformations of function or structure will be required. Transformations represent a switch to a distinct new system where a different suite of factors become important in the design and implementation of response strategies. There is a critical gap in knowledge on understanding transformational capacity and its influences. On the basis of current knowledge on adaptive capacity we propose four foundations for measuring transformational capacity: (1) how risks and uncertainty are managed, (2) the extent of skills in planning, learning and reorganizing, (3) the level of financial and psychological flexibility to undertake change and (4) the willingness to undertake change. We test the influence of place attachment and occupational identity on transformational capacity using the Australian peanut industry, which is presently assessing significant structural change in response to predicted climatic changes. Survey data from 88% of peanut farmers in Queensland show a strong negative correlation between transformational capacity and both place attachment and occupational attachment, suggesting that whilst these factors may be important positive influences on the capacity to adapt to incremental change, they act as barriers to transformational change.
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
02:19 Institute of Physics (IOP) English 2013

The contribution of ecosystem services to place utility as a determinant of migration decision-making

Environment migration research has sought to provide an account of how environmental risks and resources affect migration and mobility. Part of that effort has focused on the role of the environment in providing secure livelihoods through provisioning ecosystem services. However, many of the models of environment migration linkages fail to acknowledge the importance of social and psychological factors in the decision to migrate. Here, we seek to provide a more comprehensive model of migration decision-making under environmental change by investigating the attachment people form to place, and the role of the environment in creating that attachment. We hypothesize that environmental factors enter the migration decision-making process through their contribution to place utility, defined as a function of both affective and instrumental bonds to location, and that ecosystem services, the aspects of ecosystems that create wellbeing, contribute to both components of place utility. We test these ideas in four rural highland settlements in Peru sampled along an altitudinal gradient. We find that non-economic ecosystem services are important in creating place attachment and that ecological place attachment exists independently of use of provisioning ecosystem services. Individuals' attitudes to ecosystem services vary with the type of ecosystem services available at a location and the degree of rurality. While social and economic factors are the dominant drivers of migration in these locations, a loss of non-provisioning ecosystem services leads to a decrease in place utility and commitment to place, determining factors in the decision to migrate. The findings suggest that policy interventions encouraging migration as an adaptation to environmental change will have limited success if they only focus on provisioning services. A much wider set of individuals will experience a decrease in place utility, and migration will be unable to alleviate that decrease since the factors that create it are specific to place.
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: Institute of Physics (IOP)
  • Language: English
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