Special Issue "Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts"

A special issue of Climate (ISSN 2225-1154).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Christine Fürst
Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Geosciences and Geography, Dept. Sustainable Landscape Development, University of Halle, Von-Seckendorff-Platz 4, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
Interests: social–ecological system models; ecosystem services; impact assessment; participatory planning processes
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue was inspired by the IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations) 8.01.02 Landscape Ecology conference "The Green–Blue Nexus". The topic addresses the conflict between provisioning services (biomass, food, fodder, etc. = the "Green") and regulating services (e.g., drinking water provisioning, irrigation water, flood and erosion control = the "Blue") in relation to other impacts on biodiversity and the supporting structures and key ecological processes that enable the supply of these services. Important drivers, such as climate and global change and their impacts on ecosystem functioning, processes, pattern, and services will be discussed and policy implications should be addressed in the papers.

Prof. Dr. Christine Fürst
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ecosystems
  • societies
  • drivers
  • governance
  • land management
  • land use planning

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Climate and Energy Governance Perspectives from a Municipal Point of View in Hungary
Climate 2019, 7(8), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7080097 - 02 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
European climate change objectives aim to reduce CO2 emissions, promote the spread of renewable energy sources (RES), and stimulate energy efficiency (EE). The situation of local and regional governance is crucial in the implementation of community objectives. A multi-year research project was [...] Read more.
European climate change objectives aim to reduce CO2 emissions, promote the spread of renewable energy sources (RES), and stimulate energy efficiency (EE). The situation of local and regional governance is crucial in the implementation of community objectives. A multi-year research project was implemented in East Hungary by the University of Debrecen and Eszterházy University. It focuses on the relevance of local communities in the formation of adequate responses to the fore-mentioned challenges. A broad range of primary data collections (questionnaires and interviews) were implemented in two rural counties of the country. The first objective was to elicit existing plans concerning RES and EE at the municipality level and to measure the rate of public participation in the elaboration of them. Secondly, the scopes of the implemented projects were examined in the target area. According to the results, local leaders seem to be committed to environmental issues, but communities rarely possess energy/climate-change plans and projects. The main motivators of project implementation are financial. Because of poor financial conditions, only EU co-financed projects are realized. As subsidies come through the national government, political factors are crucial. From a governance point of view, national and county levels are decisive, and local specialties are not taken into consideration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Shocks and Responses in Karnali-Mahakali Basins, Western Nepal
Climate 2019, 7(7), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7070092 - 18 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The Himalayas are highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change, as it consequently increases the vulnerability of downstream communities, livelihoods and ecosystems. Western Nepal currently holds significant potential as multiple opportunities for water development within the country are underway. However, it is [...] Read more.
The Himalayas are highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change, as it consequently increases the vulnerability of downstream communities, livelihoods and ecosystems. Western Nepal currently holds significant potential as multiple opportunities for water development within the country are underway. However, it is also identified as one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, with both an increase in the occurrence of natural disasters and exacerbated severity and impacts levels. Regional climate model (RCM) projections indicate warmer weather with higher variability in rainfall for this region. This paper combines bio-physical and social approaches to further study and understand the current climate shocks and responses present in Western Nepal. Data was collected from 3660 households across 122 primary sampling units across the Karnali, Mahakali and Mohana River basins along with focus group discussions, which provided a rich understanding of the currently perceived climatic shocks and related events. Further analysis of climatology was carried out through nine indices of precipitation and temperature that were found to be relevant to the discussed climate shocks. Results show that 79% of households reported experiencing at least one type of climate shock in the five-year period and the most common occurrence was droughts, which is also supported by the climate data. Disaggregated results show that perception varies with the region and among the basins. Analysis of climatic trends further show that irregular weather is most common in the hill region, although average reported frequency of irregular weather is higher in the mountain. Further analysis into the severity and response to climatic shocks suggest an imminent need for better adaptation strategies. This study’s results show that a vast majority of respondents lack proper access to knowledge and that successful adaptation strategies must be adapted to specific regions to meet communities’ local needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle
Attitudes of Farmers and Rural Area Residents Toward Climate Change Adaptation Measures: Their Preferences and Determinants of Their Attitudes
Climate 2019, 7(5), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7050071 - 26 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this study, data obtained from an online survey were analyzed to identify the perception gap between farmers and nonfarmers (rural area residents) toward climate change adaptation measures with conventional and new elements of the psychological mechanism. Key findings from the study were [...] Read more.
In this study, data obtained from an online survey were analyzed to identify the perception gap between farmers and nonfarmers (rural area residents) toward climate change adaptation measures with conventional and new elements of the psychological mechanism. Key findings from the study were as follows. First, the perception of climate change risk and awareness of impacts of climate change had strong effects on the preferences for and willingness to participate in measures rather than trusting the government and values pertaining to the policy decision-making process. Second, farmers tended to prefer “protection” and “transfer of risks (insurance)” as climate change adaptation measures more than nonfarmers did. Farmers also tended to be unwilling to participate in “withdrawal”, reflecting the difficulty of relocating agricultural land. Third, farmers’ willingness to participate in climate change adaptation measures was determined strongly by their preferences. Therefore, to increase preference, there needs to be communication about multiple risks including climate change risks associated with not only “adjustment” and “protection”, which tend to be preferred, but also “withdrawal”, which tends to not be preferred. Contrasting with these, nonfarmers tended to prefer any particular climate change adaptation measures statistically-significantly, but they tended to be willing to accept “self-help” absolutely and “withdrawal” relatively. Also, farmers’ willingness to participate in climate change adaptation measures was determined strongly by their preference. One of the ways to increase the preference is communicating about the multiple risks including climate change risks associated with “adjustment,” “protection” and “transfer” which tend to be preferred more than nonfarmers did. Finally, trust in the government and values pertaining to the policy decision-making process did not necessarily have a serious impact on policy preferences and willingness to participate, both for farmers and nonfarmers. More analyses for other sectors will be needed for further study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle
Perception of Climate Change Risk and Adaptation in the Czech Republic
Climate 2019, 7(5), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7050061 - 26 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Public perception of climate change is an important element that affects attitudes towards adaptation and mitigation. Understanding the general public’s perception of the issue can assist decision-makers, though the climate change perception is affected by multiple factors. This study examines the main sociodemographic [...] Read more.
Public perception of climate change is an important element that affects attitudes towards adaptation and mitigation. Understanding the general public’s perception of the issue can assist decision-makers, though the climate change perception is affected by multiple factors. This study examines the main sociodemographic factors, including gender, and the role of previous personal experience with extreme weather events on climate change perception and engagement in individual adaptation and mitigation actions among the general population in the Czech Republic. Based on statistical analysis, gender, age and previous experience with extreme weather events have been found to play a significant role in the climate change beliefs of individuals and in the perception of the cause of the changing climate. The analysis revealed that respondents with previous experience with extreme weather events were significantly more likely to implement adaptation and mitigation actions than respondents with no experience. The survey represents insights into climate change perception and beliefs of the general public at the national level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Risk-Based, Adaptive Pathways to Climate Adaptation Planning for Public Conservation Areas in NSW, Australia
Climate 2019, 7(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7040058 - 19 Apr 2019
Abstract
Globally, areas of high-quality wildlife habitat of significant environmental value are at risk of permanent damage from climate change. These areas represent social-ecological systems that will require increasing management intervention to maintain their biological and socio-cultural values. Managers of protected areas have begun [...] Read more.
Globally, areas of high-quality wildlife habitat of significant environmental value are at risk of permanent damage from climate change. These areas represent social-ecological systems that will require increasing management intervention to maintain their biological and socio-cultural values. Managers of protected areas have begun to recognize the inevitability of ecosystem change and the need to embrace dynamic approaches to intervention. However, significant uncertainty remains about the onset and severity of some impacts, which makes planning difficult. For Indigenous communities, there are intrinsic links between cultural heritage and the conservation of place and biodiversity that need to be better integrated in protected area planning and management. In New South Wales, Australia, management of public conservation reserves and national parks is the responsibility of a State government agency, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). This paper describes the outcomes of a participatory planning process with NPWS staff to, firstly, identify the options available, the available ‘tool kit’, to manage biodiversity and cultural heritage in protected areas; secondly, explore how the selection of management actions from the ‘tool kit’ is associated with the level of climate risk to biodiversity or cultural heritage assets; and thirdly, to understand how the form of individual management actions might adapt to changes in climate risk. Combining these three elements into a series of risk-based, adaptive pathways for conservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage is a novel approach that is currently supporting place-based planning for public conservation areas. Incorporation of the trade-offs and synergies in seeking to effectively manage these discrete but related types of values and the implications for conservation practice are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change and Migration for Scandinavian Saami: A Review of Possible Impacts
Climate 2019, 7(4), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7040047 - 31 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Migration, especially of indigenous peoples, related to or influenced by climate change continues to gain increasing research and policy attention. Limited material remains for this topic for Scandinavia’s indigenous people, the Saami. This paper contributes to filling this gap by providing a review [...] Read more.
Migration, especially of indigenous peoples, related to or influenced by climate change continues to gain increasing research and policy attention. Limited material remains for this topic for Scandinavia’s indigenous people, the Saami. This paper contributes to filling this gap by providing a review for the Scandinavian Saami of the possible impacts of climate change on migration. Environmental influences, social influences, and a synthesis through livelihoods impacts, including for reindeer herding, is provided, followed by a discussion of Saami responses to climate change and migration mainly through a governance analysis. Overall, climate change’s impacts on the Saami do not necessarily entail abandoning their traditions, livelihoods, or homes. Instead, the most significant impact is likely to be migrants moving into the Arctic to pursue resource opportunities. Working collaboratively with the Saami, policies and practices are needed to ensure that indigenous interests are respected and that indigenous needs are met. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
Open AccessArticle
Cardamom Casualties: Extreme Weather Events and Ethnic Minority Livelihood Vulnerability in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands
Climate 2019, 7(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7010014 - 18 Jan 2019
Abstract
In the wake of important economic reforms and an ongoing agrarian transition, non-timber forest products, most notably black cardamom, have emerged as significant trade options for ethnic minority farmers in the mountainous Sino-Vietnamese borderlands. Yet, after a series of harsh winters had already [...] Read more.
In the wake of important economic reforms and an ongoing agrarian transition, non-timber forest products, most notably black cardamom, have emerged as significant trade options for ethnic minority farmers in the mountainous Sino-Vietnamese borderlands. Yet, after a series of harsh winters had already crippled cardamom harvests in the 2000s, extreme weather in 2016 decimated the cardamom plantations of hundreds of farming households. Drawing from sustainable livelihoods, livelihood diversification, and vulnerability literatures, we investigate the multiple factors shaping how these harvest failures have affected ethnic minority cultivator livelihoods. Focusing on four case study villages, two in Yunnan, and two in northern Vietnam, we analyse the coping and adaptation strategies Hmong, Yao, Hani, and Yi minority farmers have adopted. We find that farmers’ decisions and strategies have been rooted in a complex ensemble of factors including their degree of market access, other livelihood opportunities available to them, cultural traditions and expectations, and state development strategies. Moreover, we find that in recent years the Chinese and Vietnamese states have stood-by as affected cultivators have struggled to reorganize their livelihoods, suggesting that the impacts of extreme weather events might even serve state projects to further agrarian transitions in these borderlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle
Determinants of Farmers’ Decisions on Risk Coping Strategies in Rural West Java
Climate 2019, 7(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7010007 - 05 Jan 2019
Abstract
The impact of natural hazards on agriculture in Indonesia is becoming increasingly severe. Therefore, improving farmers’ capacity to undertake risk coping strategies is essential to maintaining their prosperity. The objective of this study was to investigate the determinants of farmers’ decisions on ex [...] Read more.
The impact of natural hazards on agriculture in Indonesia is becoming increasingly severe. Therefore, improving farmers’ capacity to undertake risk coping strategies is essential to maintaining their prosperity. The objective of this study was to investigate the determinants of farmers’ decisions on ex ante and ex post coping strategies in rural West Java, Indonesia. The study was based on a field survey of 180 farmers conducted in the Garut district from July to October 2017. The study used the protection motivation theory framework and applied three econometric models: binomial logit model, zero truncated Poisson regression model, and multinomial logit model. Most farmers (74.4%) adopted ex ante coping strategies. They were characterized as having higher risk aversion per capita expenditure and disaster experience, but lower discount rates and percentage of damage and locations in downstream and midstream areas. Coping appraisal perceptions were found to be important factors in the risk coping analysis. Four determinants of the decision on the number of ex ante coping strategies adopted were: per capita expenditure, land size, disaster experience, and access to financial institutions. The most common ex post coping strategy adopted by farmers was the middle-stress type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Solving Multi-Objective Problems for Multifunctional and Sustainable Management in Maritime Pine Forest Landscapes
Climate 2018, 6(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6040081 - 15 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Forest management based on sustainability and multifunctionality requires reliable and user-friendly tools to address several objectives simultaneously. In this work we present FlorNExT Pro®, a multiple-criteria landscape-scale forest planning and management computer tool, and apply it in a region in the [...] Read more.
Forest management based on sustainability and multifunctionality requires reliable and user-friendly tools to address several objectives simultaneously. In this work we present FlorNExT Pro®, a multiple-criteria landscape-scale forest planning and management computer tool, and apply it in a region in the north of Portugal to find optimized management solutions according to objectives such as maximization of net present value (NPV), volume growth, and carbon storage, and minimization of losses due to fire. Comparisons made among single- and multi-objective solutions were made to explore the range of possible indicators provided by the tool such as carbon sequestered, volume growth, probability of fire occurrence, volume of wood extracted, and evenness of harvesting in the management period. Results show that FlorNExT Pro® is a reliable, flexible, and useful tool to incorporate multiple criteria and objectives into spatially explicit complex management problems and to prepare sustainable and multifunctional forest management plans at the landscape level. FlorNExT Pro® is also suited to guiding and adapting forest management for uncertainty scenarios for the assessment of ecosystem services and fire risk, therefore playing an important role in the maintenance of sustainable landscapes in the south of Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Cold and Heat Island in the City of Bragança (Portugal)
Climate 2018, 6(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6030070 - 31 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The thermal environment is an important aspect of the urban environment because it affects the quality of life of urban residents and the energy use in buildings. Urban Heat Island (UHI) and Urban Cold Island (UCI) are complementary effects that are the consequence [...] Read more.
The thermal environment is an important aspect of the urban environment because it affects the quality of life of urban residents and the energy use in buildings. Urban Heat Island (UHI) and Urban Cold Island (UCI) are complementary effects that are the consequence of cities’ structures interference with the local climate. This article presents results from five years of urban climate monitoring (2012–2016) in a small Portuguese city (Bragança) using a dense meteorological network of 23 locations covering a wide array of Local Climate Zones (LCZ), from urban areas to nearby rural areas. Results show the presence of both the UHI effect, from mid-afternoon until sunrise, and the UCI after sunrise, both being more intense under the dense midrise urban context and during the summer. Urban Green Spaces had an impact on both UHI and UCI, with an important role in cooling areas of the city during daytime in the summer. Other LCZs had less impact on local thermal conditions. Despite the small size of this city, both effects (UHI and UCI) had a relevant intensity with an impact on local climate conditions. Both effects tend to decrease in intensity with increasing wind speed and precipitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Changing Climate and Market Conditions on Crop Yield and Acreage Allocation in Nepal
Climate 2018, 6(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6020032 - 26 Apr 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study examines the impact of changing climate and product market conditions on crop yield and land allocations in Nepal. Zellner’s seemingly unrelated regression approach is used to estimate the acreage and yield functions. The potential impact of price endogeneity on estimated parameters [...] Read more.
This study examines the impact of changing climate and product market conditions on crop yield and land allocations in Nepal. Zellner’s seemingly unrelated regression approach is used to estimate the acreage and yield functions. The potential impact of price endogeneity on estimated parameters is corrected using an instrumental variable method. The results show that farm input prices and output prices play a crucial role in determining acreage allocation. While the variation in daily temperature during planting season affects acreage allocations for all crops except wheat, the total precipitation is critical for upland crops, particularly for millet. Literacy rate and the number of rainy days significantly affect yield for most crops. Moreover, the rising winter warming is enhancing wheat and potato yields. The results also show that a ten percent decrease in the number of rainy days during the growing season is likely to reduce yields for rice, maize, and wheat by 4.8, 1.7, and 0.8 percent, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
Open AccessArticle
Vulnerability Assessment of the Livelihoods in Tanzania’s Semi-Arid Agro-Ecological Zone under Climate Change Scenarios
Climate 2018, 6(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6020027 - 11 Apr 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Despite the established literature on the vulnerability to climate change in various parts of Tanzania, it is worthwhile to assess the extent of this vulnerability of the peoples’ livelihoods and predict its future outcome. This is particularly important in the vulnerable ecosystems, that [...] Read more.
Despite the established literature on the vulnerability to climate change in various parts of Tanzania, it is worthwhile to assess the extent of this vulnerability of the peoples’ livelihoods and predict its future outcome. This is particularly important in the vulnerable ecosystems, that is, the semi-arid zones of Tanzania where the people’s livelihoods are highly attached to the declining local condition. The present study aims to assess the livelihoods vulnerability in Kongwa District, the semi-arid zone of Central Tanzania. In doing so, a wide range of methods were employed during data collection and analyses including surveys, informative interviews, discussions and observation. The study sampled 400 (≤10%) respondents during a survey. The Mann-Kendall Test with SPSS V20, Microsoft Excel and Theme content techniques were used for data analyses. The results indicate that climate stress has adversely impacted the quality of soil, vegetation, crop yields and intensified environmental degradation. Since most people depend upon the mentioned affected aspects, it is expected that also the level of livelihood vulnerability has elevated. Further, this situation has greatly contributed to increased poverty and thus, propagates the “tragedy of the common” to the available environmental resources. As a response to increased vulnerability, some farmers have abandoned thousands of hectares of agricultural farms that seemed to be less productive. Despite this, slight measures have been taken by both the government and other key stakeholders to limit vulnerability. The findings of this study provide a theoretical and practical basis for coordinating a sustainable man-environment relationship, ensuring the sustainability of the environment which is the major source of peoples’ livelihoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Analysis of Grape Production in the Face of Climate Change
Climate 2018, 6(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6020020 - 21 Mar 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Grape, olive, and wheat are traditional Mediterranean Basin crops that have immense cultural, economic, and ecological importance, and are the basis for producing wine, olive oil, and pasta and bread products. Of fruit crops, grape has the largest area and the highest economic [...] Read more.
Grape, olive, and wheat are traditional Mediterranean Basin crops that have immense cultural, economic, and ecological importance, and are the basis for producing wine, olive oil, and pasta and bread products. Of fruit crops, grape has the largest area and the highest economic importance globally. These traditional Mediterranean crop systems and related food products have global relevance, and yet globally, all regions with Mediterranean climate are especially vulnerable to climate change that threatens this Mediterranean bio-cultural heritage. However, how to analyze the complex tripartite ecological, economic, and social effects of climate change on these systems has been vexing and largely unexplored. Here we review how a bioeconomic approach using physiologically-based demographic models in the context of geographic information systems may be an important step in examining the complexity of these factors on grape. We show that with relatively modest data and funding, regional bioeconomic analysis of grape production under present weather and climate change is possible, and that management-relevant complexity can be included in a mechanistic way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Conceptual Framework for Vulnerability Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Critical Oil and Gas Infrastructure in the Niger Delta
Climate 2018, 6(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6010011 - 12 Feb 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The impact of climate change on the Niger Delta is severe, as extreme weather events have inflicted various degrees of stress on critical oil/gas infrastructure. Typically, assets managers and government agencies lack a clear framework for evaluating the vulnerability of these systems. This [...] Read more.
The impact of climate change on the Niger Delta is severe, as extreme weather events have inflicted various degrees of stress on critical oil/gas infrastructure. Typically, assets managers and government agencies lack a clear framework for evaluating the vulnerability of these systems. This paper presents a participatory framework for the vulnerability assessment of critical oil/gas infrastructure to climate change impacts in the Niger Delta context. Through a critical review of relevant literature and triangulating observational and exploratory data from the field, this paper has developed a conceptual framework with three elements: (1) a preliminary scoping activity; (2) the vulnerability assessment; and (3) mainstreaming the results into institutional asset management codes. Scoping involves the definition of research aims and objectives, review of prevailing climate burdens and impacts, exploratory investigation, screening for new (planned) assets and selection of relevant infrastructure. The emphasis on screening for planned infrastructure is to facilitate the incorporation of sustainable adaptive capacities into the original design of identified systems. A conceptual framework for vulnerability assessment is presented as a robust systematic iterative model for the evaluation of selected assets using an appropriate methodology. In this study, analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is applied while mainstreaming as part of the research framework is emphasised to aid commercial implementation from an expert-based perspective. The study recommends the use of other suitable methodologies and systematic approaches to test the flexibility of the framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems, Climate and Global Change Impacts)
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