A Resilience Approach to Community-Scale Climate Adaptation
Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt 500272, Nigeria
Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Department of Agriculture, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Abakaliki P.M.B. 1010, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka 410001, Nigeria
Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8001, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3100; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113100
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 18 May 2019 / Accepted: 29 May 2019 / Published: 1 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coping with Climate Change at Regional Level)
Climate risk is expected to impact rural communities in West Africa in multiple ways. However, most current research addresses resilience and climate adaptation at either the national or the household scale; very little is known about community-scale interventions. We interviewed 934 community members in six communities in southeastern Nigeria about sources of climate risk and community-based actions for climate change adaptation. We found these communities contained multiple active and engaged groups that have implemented a wide range of interventions to reduce climate risk, most of which are seen as effective by community members. Flooding was the most common form of risk in this region, but drought, windstorms, and irregular rainy seasons are also frequent, implying that effective climate adaptation will have to be sensitive to multiple types of risk. Structural interventions (constructing roads, bridges, etc.) were the most common type of intervention, suggesting that communities are capable of marshalling considerable organizational and human power for adaptation efforts, even in the absence of external assistance. Efforts to boost community resilience and adaptation to climate change would benefit from first understanding what community actions are currently underway, and working with the groups implementing these actions to support and extend them.