maladaptation and vulnerability in the solomon islands
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Maladaptation and Vulnerability in the Solomon Islands. Ioan Fazey School of Geography and Geosciences [email protected] Maladaptation and Vulnerability. ‘ Maladaptation ’ e.g. when responses: Increase greenhouse gases Disproportionately burden the most vulnerable

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Maladaptation and Vulnerability

  • ‘Maladaptation’ e.g. when responses:
    • Increase greenhouse gases
    • Disproportionately burden the most vulnerable
      • (Barnett and O’Neill 2010)
  • But also when responses increase vulnerability to future change:
    • Don’t reduce/reinforce drivers of change;
    • Reduce future opportunities for responses;
    • Reduce ability to take-up response options.
      • (Fazey et al 2010. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment)

Aim: To understand human responses to change and how this can increase vulnerability to future (possibly unforeseen) change

  • Context
  • Methods
  • Results/Discussion

Solomon Islands

  • Cultural diversity
  • 90% customary land ownership
  • Economic isolation
  • Aid dependency
  • Vulnerable to?
  • Climate change
  • Global economic change
  • Conflict

Why Kahua?

  • ‘Bounded’ system
  • Traditionally subsistence affluent
  • Moving to monetary economy
research in kahua

I. Latham 2007 Livelihoods

Research in Kahua

L. Burton 2008 Education (Oxford)

J. Kenter 2009 Valuing Ecosystem Services

D. Schuett 2010

Bridging Organisations

T. Davies 2010+ Poverty and Ecosystems

Human-environment interactions


Students from UK

social learning
Social Learning
  • Participatory research increases robustness of results
  • Contributes to social learning

(Fazey et al. In Press. Global Environmental Change)

  • Sometimes profound outcomes

Kenter et al. Under Review

key questions from work in 2007 08
Key Questions from work in 2007/08

What is changing?

What are the key drivers of change?

How does this influence long term vulnerability to future change?

perceptions and drivers of change
Perceptions and drivers of change
  • 12 local RAs trained in basic research & facilitation;
  • 38 communities, 76 detailed focus groups, 24% Kahua people directly involved in focus groups. All households surveyed;
  • Large participatory workshops, including understanding links between aspects of change;
  • Development of conceptual models of feedback in social-ecological system

Environmental change

Garonna et al 2009. Environmental Conservation

36: 253-260

population and income opportunities
Population and income opportunities

4500 people in 2007

3.52% growth, doubles every 20 years

Income opportunities

items of change
Items of change
  • 1826 statements, 224 separate items
  • Most statements about same key items
    • 32 most frequently identified items are 53.9% of all 1826 statements
  • High consistency in direction of change
  • Most changes perceived to be undesirable
types of change
Types of change

48 broad categories, top nine are 69.1% of all 1826 statements

Same types ranked top in different regions

Less frequent items (e.g. gambling, reduced law and order) differ between regions

drivers of change

Link identified by 3 groups

Link identified by 4 groups

Link identified by 5 groups

Link identified by 6 groups

Drivers of change
system feedbacks
System Feedbacks

Most external influences are enabling income generation

Desire for prosperity, cash crops, income

Population growth, stress and cash crops

Key opportunity: the Kahua Association

Social cohesion,

individualism and ability to address problems

Variable influences of increasing income

drivers key findings
Drivers: Key findings

Population growth and desire for prosperity are two key drivers of change

Key factors are increasing access to markets

Responses to change reinforce problems

Little option other than to continue to follow existing path?

what happens on other islands
What happens on other islands?
  • In Bellona
    • no environmental change
    • people migrate to capita & send money
    • No change in Number people & per capita impact
  • Can’t migrate from Kahua – instead use local resources (timber, land) to make money and buy food.
value of food gardens vs cash crops
Value of food gardens vs cash crops

Valuing ecosystem services

People willing to pay very high sums to maintain services

Gardens worth SBD$13,149 p.a. (US $877)

Cocoa production similar value, but imported food is expensive

So cash crops don’t fully compensate for loss food gardens

Kenter et al. Under Review

trajectory of vulnerability
Trajectory of Vulnerability
  • Result of current responses:
    • No decrease in key endogenous drivers
    • Increasing per capita impact on environment/resources;
    • Some increase in money (but not enough to replace subsistence food);
    • Increasing conflict, loss social cohesion;
    • Decreasing capacity to govern environmental resources;
    • Becoming locked in to high costs fossil fuel dependency;
  • Vulnerability to future global change (economic and climate) is increasing
  • Potentially reinforced by aid/development
wider implications
Wider Implications

‘Snapshot’ of vulnerability;

Context of vulnerability is not static;

Responses/adaptations can increase vulnerability;

Solomon Islands highlights how much of human behaviour is about displacing environmental impact;

Key question: How can we link understanding from historical case studies & contemporary case studies to better inform adaptive strategies?