In the first paper in this series (Nelson, R., Kokic, P., Crimp, S., Martin, P., Meinke, H., Howden, S.M. (2010, this issue)), we concluded that hazard/impact modelling needs to be integrated with holistic measures of adaptive capacity in order to provide policy-relevant insights into the multiple and emergent dimensions of vulnerability. In this paper, we combine hazard/impact modelling with an holistic measure of adaptive capacity to analyse the vulnerability of Australian rural communities to climate variability and change. Bioeconomic modelling was used to model the exposure and sensitivity of Australian rural communities to climate variability and change. Rural livelihoods analysis was used as a conceptual framework to construct a composite index of adaptive capacity using farm survey data. We then show how this integrated measure of vulnerability provides policy-relevant insights into the constraints and options for building adaptive capacity in rural communities. In the process, we show that relying on hazard/impact modelling alone can lead to entirely erroneous conclusions about the vulnerability of rural communities, with potential to significantly misdirect policy intervention. We provide a preliminary assessment of which Australian rural communities are vulnerable to climate variability and change, and reveal a complex set of interacting environmental, economic and social factors contributing to vulnerability.
Environmental Science & Policy – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2010
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