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Environments 2018, 5(3), 40; doi:10.3390/environments5030040

Adapting to Climate Change: Lessons from Farmers and Peri-Urban Fringe Residents in South Australia

Department of Geography, Environment & Population, School of Social Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia
Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, South Australia 5095, Australia
Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616, Singapore
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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This paper reports on results from two major research projects conducted in South Australia. The first investigates adaptation to climate change in two of the state’s major grain and sheep farming regions, using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The second uses a postal questionnaire and an internet-based survey of residents in the peri-urban fringes of Adelaide, the state capital, to examine knowledge of and attitudes to climate change and resulting adaptations, especially in the context of increasing risk of wildfires. The research on adaptation to climate change in agriculture focused on formal institutions (e.g., government agencies) and communities of practice (e.g., farm systems groups). Both groups noted that farmers autonomously adapt to various risks, including those induced by climate variability. The types and levels of adaptation varied among individuals partly because of barriers to adaptation, which included limited communication and engagement processes established between formal institutions and communities of practice. The paper discusses possibilities for more effective transfers of knowledge and information on climate change among formal institutions, communities of practice, trusted individual advisors and farmers. Research in the peri-urban fringe revealed that actions taken by individuals to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change were linked to the nature of environmental values held (or ecological worldview) and place attachment. Individuals with a strong place attachment to the study area (the Adelaide Hills) who possessed knowledge of and/or beliefs in climate change were most likely to take mitigating actions. This was also linked to previous experience of major risk from wildfires. The paper concludes by discussing prospects for developing co-management for reducing the impact of climate change across multiple groups in rural and peri-urban areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; adaptation; mitigation; wildfires; risk; farmers; peri-urban; South Australia climate change; adaptation; mitigation; wildfires; risk; farmers; peri-urban; South Australia

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Robinson, G.M.; Bardsley, D.K.; Raymond, C.M.; Underwood, T.; Moskwa, E.; Weber, D.; Waschl, N.; Bardsley, A.M. Adapting to Climate Change: Lessons from Farmers and Peri-Urban Fringe Residents in South Australia. Environments 2018, 5, 40.

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