Flooding is a routine occurrence throughout much of the monsoonal tropics. Despite well-developed repertoires of response, agrarian societies have been ‘double exposed’ to intensifying climate change and agro-industrialization over the past several decades, often in ways that alter both the regularity of flood events and individual and community capacity for response. This paper engages these tensions by exploring everyday experiences of and responses to extreme flood events in a case study village in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, which has also been the site of corporate oil palm development since 2010. We first reconstruct histories of extreme flood events along the Konawe’eha River using oral histories and satellite imagery, describing the role of these events in straining the terms of daily production and reproduction. We then outline the ways smallholder agriculturalists are responding to flood events through alterations in their land use strategies, including through the sale or leasing of flood-prone lands, the relocation of riverine vegetable production to hillside locations, and adoption of new cropping choices and management practices. We highlight the role of such responses as a driver of ongoing land use change, potentially in ways that increase systemic vulnerability to floods moving forward.
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