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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 in the solomon islands l.jpg

Maladaptation and Vulnerability in the Solomon Islands

Ioan Fazey

School of Geography and Geosciences

[email protected]


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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)



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Outline or create new ones…

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

  • Context

  • Methods

  • Results/Discussion


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1. Context or create new ones…


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  • Solomon Islands or create new ones…

  • Cultural diversity

  • 90% customary land ownership

  • Economic isolation

  • Aid dependency

  • Vulnerable to?

  • Climate change

  • Global economic change

  • Conflict


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Why Kahua? or create new ones…

  • ‘Bounded’ system

  • Traditionally subsistence affluent

  • Moving to monetary economy


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I. Latham 2007 Livelihoods or create new ones…

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

Participatory/collaborative

Students from UK


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Social Learning or create new ones…

  • 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


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Key Questions from work in 2007/08 or create new ones…

What is changing?

What are the key drivers of change?

How does this influence long term vulnerability to future change?


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2. Methods or create new ones…


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Perceptions and drivers of change or create new ones…

  • 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


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3. Results/Discussion or create new ones…


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1. What is changing? or create new ones…


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Environmental change or create new ones…

Garonna et al 2009. Environmental Conservation

36: 253-260


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Population and income opportunities or create new ones…

4500 people in 2007

3.52% growth, doubles every 20 years

Income opportunities


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Items of change or create new ones…

  • 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


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Types of change or create new ones…

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



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Link identified by 3 groups or create new ones…

Link identified by 4 groups

Link identified by 5 groups

Link identified by 6 groups

Drivers of change


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System Feedbacks 1 or create new ones…


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System Feedbacks 2 or create new ones…


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System Feedbacks 2 & 3 or create new ones…


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System Feedbacks or create new ones…

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


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Drivers: Key findings or create new ones…

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?



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What happens on other islands? change?

  • 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.


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Value of food gardens vs cash crops change?

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


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Trajectory of Vulnerability change?

  • 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


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Wider Implications change?

‘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?


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