Special Issue "Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alexander de Sherbinin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), The Earth Institute, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, PO Box 1000, Palisades, NY 10964 USA
Interests: climate vulnerability mapping; climate change-induced migration; environmental indicators; geospatial data applications; spatial data integration
Dr. Stefan Kienberger
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geoinformatics—Z_GIS, University of Salzburg, Schillerstrasse 30, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Interests: integrated spatial indicators; spatial analysis; Earth observation; risk and vulnerability assessment; disaster risk reduction; climate change adaptation; public health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Measuring, analyzing, and mapping the societal risks and vulnerabilities of climate change has become part of the standard toolkit of climate risk and vulnerability assessments. This Special Issue focuses on the spatial assessment of climate risks and related vulnerabilities and the use of spatial data and analysis in field-based assessments. Papers may cover a range of spatial scales–from local to global–and represent any world region, and may be produced by authors from any discipline. Papers must:

  • Define the problem space–that is, the system of analysis (what is vulnerable or at risk?), the valued attributes of concern (why are they important?), the external hazard (to what is the system vulnerable and exposed?), and a temporal reference (when?)–and the purpose of the assessment;
  • Describe the analytical framework applied;
  • Provide adequate detail regarding the data and methods used;
  • Address the uncertainty in underlying data and methods;
  • Present one or more maps portraying results;
  • Address the policy relevance of the mapping/spatial analysis.

Case studies and mapping projects are especially encouraged that:

  • were developed in conjunction with stakeholders (i.e., transdisciplinary science) and/or where mapping results were applied in planning and decision-making contexts;
  • utilize statistical techniques/novel methods to identify the drivers of risk and vulnerability;
  • use future scenarios for climate and/or socioeconomic systems;
  • integrate various streams of data (ranging from survey data and official statistics to Earth observation data);
  • seek to validate mapping results.

In addition to case study or location-specific applications, we invite papers that explore spatial methods as well as papers critically reflecting on climate risk and vulnerability mapping.


Dr. Alexander de Sherbinin
Dr. Stefan Kienberger
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 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

  • mapping
  • climate change
  • climate vulnerability
  • social vulnerability
  • climate risk
  • geospatial analysis
  • data integration
  • vulnerability assessment

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Indicator-Based Assessment of Resilience and Vulnerability in the Indian Himalayan Region: A Case Study on Socio-Economy under Different Scenarios
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6938; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176938 - 26 Aug 2020
Viewed by 426
Abstract
The Indian Himalayan region is vulnerable to climate change because of its geospatial fragility. The present study gives a framework for the analysis of household and village-level resilience and vulnerability in the Bhagirathi Basin of Indian Western Himalayan region under different climate change [...] Read more.
The Indian Himalayan region is vulnerable to climate change because of its geospatial fragility. The present study gives a framework for the analysis of household and village-level resilience and vulnerability in the Bhagirathi Basin of Indian Western Himalayan region under different climate change scenarios. Villages were selected depending on different biophysical criteria to have a good representation of the study area. Household-level survey using the household economy approach was done in 646 households of 30 villages to collect information on indicators of natural, physical, financial and human capital assets and scores were generated for each category. A cumulative resilience score was obtained for each household and village. Future climate projections on mean annual temperature were also accessed under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 to estimate the change in mean temperature of the studied villages and probable change in agricultural production. The result shows that most of the villages of Tehri Garhwal are clustered in vulnerable classes in comparison to Uttarkashi villages and vulnerability scores of 11 and 8 villages changed under climate shock and future agricultural production change scenarios, respectively. The study has manifold implications on further research and policy implementation under socioeconomic vulnerability in the Himalayan region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment of Floods in Austria: Mapping Homogenous Regions, Hotspots and Typologies
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6458; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166458 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 707
Abstract
This research addresses the need for proactive climate risk management (CRM) by developing and applying a spatial climate risk and vulnerability assessment (CRVA) to flooding under consideration of the socio-economic dimension in Austria. Our research builds on a consolidated risk and vulnerability framework [...] Read more.
This research addresses the need for proactive climate risk management (CRM) by developing and applying a spatial climate risk and vulnerability assessment (CRVA) to flooding under consideration of the socio-economic dimension in Austria. Our research builds on a consolidated risk and vulnerability framework targeting both disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) while integrating the consolidated risk approach of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Furthermore, our research advances current methodologies by applying a spatially explicit and indicator-based approach, which allows the targeted and place-specific identification of intervention options—independent from the spatial bias of administrative units. The flooding CRVA is based on a comprehensive list of 14 primary indicators and 35 socio-economic sub-indicators. Our results indicate that high levels of socio-economic vulnerability related to flooding are concentrated in the northern and eastern regions of Austria. When integrating a climate hazard proxy, statistically significant risk hotspots (>90% confidence) can be identified in central-northern Austria and towards the east. Furthermore, we established a typology of regions following a spatially enabled clustering approach. Finally, our research provides a successful operationalization of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) risk framework in combination with enhanced spatial analysis methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial-Explicit Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments Based on Impact Chains. Findings from a Case Study in Burundi
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6354; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166354 - 07 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 720
Abstract
Climate change vulnerability assessments are an essential instrument to identify regions most vulnerable to adverse impacts of climate change and to determine appropriate adaptation measures. Vulnerability assessments directly support countries in developing adaptation plans and in identifying possible measures to reduce adverse consequences [...] Read more.
Climate change vulnerability assessments are an essential instrument to identify regions most vulnerable to adverse impacts of climate change and to determine appropriate adaptation measures. Vulnerability assessments directly support countries in developing adaptation plans and in identifying possible measures to reduce adverse consequences of changing climate conditions. Against this background, this paper describes a vulnerability assessment using an integrated and participatory approach that builds on standardized working steps of previously developed ‘Vulnerability Sourcebook’ guidelines. The backbone of this approach is impact chains as a conceptual model of cause–effect relationships as well as a structured selection of indicators according to the three main components of vulnerability, namely exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. We illustrate our approach by reporting the results of a vulnerability assessment conducted in Burundi focusing on climate change impacts on water and soil resources. Our work covers two analysis scales: a national assessment with the aim to identify climate change ‘hotspot regions’ through vulnerability mapping; and a local assessment aiming at identifying local-specific drivers of vulnerability and appropriate adaptation measures. Referring to this vulnerability assessment in Burundi, we discuss the potentials and constraints of the approach. We stress the need to involve stakeholders in every step of the assessment and to communicate limitations and uncertainties of the applied methods, indicators and maps in order to increase the comprehension of the approach and the acceptance of the results by different stakeholders. The study proved the practical usability of the approach at the national level by the selection of three particularly vulnerable areas. The results at a local scale supported the identification of adaption measures through intensive engagement of local rural populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Threshold or Limit? Precipitation Dependency of Austrian Landslides, an Ongoing Challenge for Hazard Mapping under Climate Change
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6182; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156182 - 31 Jul 2020
Viewed by 789
Abstract
Climate change is set to increase landslide frequency around the globe, thus increasing the potential exposure of people and material assets to these disturbances. Landslide hazard is commonly modelled from terrain and precipitation parameters, assuming that shorter, more intense rain events require less [...] Read more.
Climate change is set to increase landslide frequency around the globe, thus increasing the potential exposure of people and material assets to these disturbances. Landslide hazard is commonly modelled from terrain and precipitation parameters, assuming that shorter, more intense rain events require less precipitation volume to trigger a slide. Given the extent of non-catastrophic slides, an operable vulnerability mapping requires high spatial resolution. We combined heterogeneous regional slide inventories with long-term meteorological records and small-scale spatial information for hazard modelling. Slope, its (protective) interaction with forest cover, and altitude were the most influential terrain parameters. A widely used exponential threshold to estimate critical precipitation was found to incorrectly predict meteorological hazard to a substantial degree and, qualitatively, delineate the upper boundary of natural conditions rather than a critical threshold. Scaling rainfall parameters from absolute values into local probabilities (per km²) however revealed a consistent pattern across datasets, with the transition from normal to critical rain volumes and durations being gradual rather than abrupt thresholds. Scaled values could be reverted into site-specific nomograms for easy appraisal of critical rain conditions by local stakeholders. An overlay of terrain-related hazard with infrastructure yielded local vulnerability maps, which were verified with actual slide occurrence. Multiple potential for observation bias in ground-based slide reporting underlined the value of complementary earth observation data for slide mapping and early warning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Disaster Outcomes to Validate Components of Social Vulnerability to Floods: Flood Deaths and Property Damage across the USA
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6006; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156006 - 27 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2064
Abstract
Social vulnerability indicators seek to identify populations susceptible to hazards based on aggregated sociodemographic data. Vulnerability indices are rarely validated with disaster outcome data at broad spatial scales, making it difficult to develop effective national scale strategies to mitigate loss for vulnerable populations. [...] Read more.
Social vulnerability indicators seek to identify populations susceptible to hazards based on aggregated sociodemographic data. Vulnerability indices are rarely validated with disaster outcome data at broad spatial scales, making it difficult to develop effective national scale strategies to mitigate loss for vulnerable populations. This paper validates social vulnerability indicators using two flood outcomes: death and damage. Regression models identify sociodemographic factors associated with variation in outcomes from 11,629 non-coastal flood events in the USA (2008–2012), controlling for flood intensity using stream gauge data. We compare models with (i) socioeconomic variables, (ii) the composite social vulnerability index (SoVI), and (iii) flood intensity variables only. The SoVI explains a larger portion of the variance in death (AIC = 2829) and damage (R2 = 0.125) than flood intensity alone (death—AIC = 2894; damage—R2 = 0.089), and models with individual sociodemographic factors perform best (death—AIC = 2696; damage—R2 = 0.229). Socioeconomic variables correlated with death (rural counties with a high proportion of elderly and young) differ from those related to property damage (rural counties with high percentage of Black, Hispanic and Native American populations below the poverty line). Results confirm that social vulnerability influences death and damage from floods in the USA. Model results indicate that social vulnerability models related to specific hazards and outcomes perform better than generic social vulnerability indices (e.g., SoVI) in predicting non-coastal flood death and damage. Hazard- and outcome-specific indices could be used to better direct efforts to ameliorate flood death and damage towards the people and places that need it most. Future validation studies should examine other flood outcomes, such as evacuation, migration and health, across scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping the Structure of Social Vulnerability Systems for Malaria in East Africa
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5112; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125112 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 596
Abstract
Millions of people fall ill with malaria every year—most of them are located in sub-Saharan Africa. The weight of the burden of malaria on a society is determined by a complex interplay of environmental and social factors, including poverty, awareness and education, among [...] Read more.
Millions of people fall ill with malaria every year—most of them are located in sub-Saharan Africa. The weight of the burden of malaria on a society is determined by a complex interplay of environmental and social factors, including poverty, awareness and education, among others. A substantial share of the affected population is characterized by a general lack of anticipation and coping capacities, which renders them particularly vulnerable to the disease and its adverse side effects. This work aims at identifying interdependencies and feedback mechanisms in the malaria social vulnerability system and their variations in space by combining concepts, methods and tools from Climate Change Adaptation, Spatial Analysis, and Statistics and System Dynamics. The developed workflow is applied to a selected set of social, economic and biological vulnerability indicators covering five East-African Nations. As the study areas’ local conditions vary in a multitude of aspects, the social vulnerability system is assumed to vary accordingly throughout space. The study areas’ spatial entities were therefore aggregated into three system-regions using correlation-based clustering. Their respective correlation structures are displayed as Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs). While the three resulting CLDs do not necessarily display causal relations (as the set of social vulnerability indicators are likely linked through third variables and parts of the data are proxies), they give a good overview of the data, can be used as basis for discussions in participatory settings and can potentially enhance the understanding the malaria vulnerability system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for the Impact of Climate Change on Agricultural Land in Southern Taiwan
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4637; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114637 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 658
Abstract
Maintaining a certain amount of agricultural land and promoting its agricultural land utilization efficiency is essential in a country. Many innovative strategies for adapting to climate change have been implemented in developed countries. To achieve the goal of climate change adaptation for agricultural [...] Read more.
Maintaining a certain amount of agricultural land and promoting its agricultural land utilization efficiency is essential in a country. Many innovative strategies for adapting to climate change have been implemented in developed countries. To achieve the goal of climate change adaptation for agricultural land, a vulnerability assessment of farmland is indispensable. Based on the research framework of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this study applied the structure of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptation to build criteria and conduct an evaluation of a designated area in Southern Taiwan. We identified the key factors of the vulnerability of farmland, through mapping with spatial analysis, and by using geographic information system tools. The main purpose of the application of a vulnerability assessment is not to explicitly describe the status of agricultural land to climate change, but to help local government and farmers to identify the critical area, and to discuss the appropriated adaptive policies. According to the results of the vulnerability assessment of agricultural land, the entire study region can be divided into three patterns: Pattern 1, located in the western coastal zone, filled with various attributes of high vulnerability; Pattern 2, distributed on the central plain region in the east, with complete blocks of agricultural land and low vulnerability; and Pattern 3, located in the central plain region to the west, a region in which areas with various vulnerability levels. The following three types of adaptation strategies for climate change for farmland were established: (1) the enhancement of agricultural production, (2) the maintenance of agricultural production, and (3) the conservation of the agricultural environment. The current results can serve as valuable guidelines for governments to implement feasible local adaptation strategies in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Climate Vulnerability of River Basin Communities in Tanzania to Inform Resilience Interventions
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4102; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104102 - 17 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1612
Abstract
Increasing climate variability and change coupled with steady population growth is threatening water resources and livelihoods of communities living in the Wami-Ruvu and Rufiji basins in Tanzania. These basins are host to three large urban centers, namely Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Morogoro, [...] Read more.
Increasing climate variability and change coupled with steady population growth is threatening water resources and livelihoods of communities living in the Wami-Ruvu and Rufiji basins in Tanzania. These basins are host to three large urban centers, namely Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Morogoro, with a combined total of more than 7 million people. Increased demand for ecosystem services from the available surface water resources and a decreasing supply of clean and safe water are exacerbating the vulnerability of communities in these basins. Several studies have analyzed climate projects in the two basins but little attention has been paid to identify locations that have vulnerable communities in a spatially-explicit form. To address this gap, we worked with stakeholders from national and local government agencies, basin water boards and the Water Resources Integration Development Initiative (WARIDI) project funded by USAID to map the vulnerability of communities to climate variability and change in the two basins. A generalized methodology for mapping social vulnerability to climate change was used to integrate biophysical and socioeconomic indicators of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity and produced climate vulnerability index maps. Our analysis identified vulnerability “hotspots” where communities are at a greater risk from climate stressors. The results from this study were used to identify priority sites and adaptation measures for the implementation of resilience building interventions and to train local government agencies and communities on climate change adaptation measures in the two basins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
A Systematic Review of Coastal Vulnerability Mapping
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2822; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072822 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1754
Abstract
Coastal areas worldwide represent an aggregation of population and assets of growing economic, geopolitical, and sociocultural significance, yet their functions are increasingly challenged by worsening coastal hazards. Vulnerability assessments have been recognized as one way we can better understand which geographic areas and [...] Read more.
Coastal areas worldwide represent an aggregation of population and assets of growing economic, geopolitical, and sociocultural significance, yet their functions are increasingly challenged by worsening coastal hazards. Vulnerability assessments have been recognized as one way we can better understand which geographic areas and segments of society are more susceptible to adverse impacts from different stressors or hazards. The aims of this paper are to evaluate the state of coastal vulnerability assessment mapping efforts and to identify opportunities for advancement and refinement that will lead to more cohesive, impactful, and policy-relevant coastal vulnerability studies. We conducted a systematic review of the literature that addresses physical and social vulnerability to coastal hazards and contains corresponding mapping products. The content was analyzed for the scale of analysis, location, disciplinary focus, conceptual framework, metrics used, methodological approach, data sources, mapping output, and policy relevance. Results showed that most Coastal Vulnerability Mapping Assessments (CVMAs) are conducted at the local level using a range of methodologies, often with limited inclusion of social considerations and limited discussion of policy relevance. Based on our analysis, we provide seven recommendations for the advancement of this field that would improve CVMAs’ methodological rigor, policy relevance, and alignment with other vulnerability assessment paradigms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Development and application of a Socioeconomic Vulnerability Indicator Framework (SVIF) for Local Climate Change Adaptation in Taiwan
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1585; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041585 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 678
Abstract
This paper outlines the development of a socioeconomic vulnerability indicator framework (SVIF) which was designed to provide a tool to inform bespoke local adaptation actions along the Taiwanese coast. The framework incorporates a range of diverse indicators, from ones that are related to [...] Read more.
This paper outlines the development of a socioeconomic vulnerability indicator framework (SVIF) which was designed to provide a tool to inform bespoke local adaptation actions along the Taiwanese coast. The framework incorporates a range of diverse indicators, from ones that are related to demographic characteristics to others that represent economic and infrastructure features. As such, the framework encapsulates multiple and complex dimensions of socio-economic vulnerability rather than deriving a less nuanced single index; this is an approach that, whilst more commonly employed elsewhere, may mask critical features of socioeconomic vulnerability at local levels. The paper describes the piloting of the SVIF as it quantifies and visually summarizes the susceptibility and resilience of four townships (Mailiao, Kauho, Linbian and Jiadong) along the exposed coast of Southwest Taiwan. The paper demonstrates the SVIF’s potential in characterizing specific aspects of socio-economic vulnerability that local decision-makers could use to tailor local adaptation. The SVIF was successful in differentiating between the four local areas, highlighting clear differences between urban and rural townships. With further development by using a more participative approach and expanding its application to wider geographical contexts both in Taiwan and further afield, the authors are confident that the SVIF has the potential to provide a useful tool for local adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Mobile Phone Data for Urban Climate Change Adaptation: Reviewing Applications, Opportunities and Key Challenges
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041501 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1105
Abstract
Climate change places cities at increasing risk and poses a serious challenge for adaptation. As a response, novel sources of data combined with data-driven logics and advanced spatial modelling techniques have the potential for transformative change in the role of information in urban [...] Read more.
Climate change places cities at increasing risk and poses a serious challenge for adaptation. As a response, novel sources of data combined with data-driven logics and advanced spatial modelling techniques have the potential for transformative change in the role of information in urban planning. However, little practical guidance exists on the potential opportunities offered by mobile phone data for enhancing adaptive capacities in urban areas. Building upon a review of spatial studies mobilizing mobile phone data, this paper explores the opportunities offered by such digital information for providing spatially-explicit assessments of urban vulnerability, and shows the ways these can help developing more dynamic strategies and tools for urban planning and disaster risk management. Finally, building upon the limitations of mobile phone data analysis, it discusses the key urban governance challenges that need to be addressed for supporting the emergence of transformative change in current planning frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Vulnerability Assessment of Forest Fringe Villages of Madhya Pradesh, India for Planning Adaptation Strategies
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031253 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1127
Abstract
This study aims to assess the climate change vulnerability of forest fringe villages of Madhya Pradesh, India, and to identify the major drivers of vulnerability, which could help to develop effective adaptation strategies. A total of 325 households spread in 29 villages of [...] Read more.
This study aims to assess the climate change vulnerability of forest fringe villages of Madhya Pradesh, India, and to identify the major drivers of vulnerability, which could help to develop effective adaptation strategies. A total of 325 households spread in 29 villages of Hoshangabad, and Mandla districts were chosen for primary data collection during the summer of 2015. The selection of villages and households was carried out through stratified random sampling and systematic random sampling, respectively. The vulnerability index (score) was developed and analyzed with respect to the different socioeconomic parameters. The analysis revealed that it is not the social class of a household but the economic condition, level of education, and type of occupation/livelihood of the members of a household that are significant factors influencing the vulnerability of a household. Such findings suggest that government programs need to be designed to address the welfare of all social classes in the forest fringe villages. The study has significance in terms of providing a framework for prioritizing target households for different programs related to vulnerability reduction in the forest fringe areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Drought Risk to Agricultural Systems in Zimbabwe: A Spatial Analysis of Hazard, Exposure, and Vulnerability
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 752; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030752 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1980
Abstract
The devastating impacts of drought are fast becoming a global concern. Zimbabwe is among the countries more severely affected, where drought impacts have led to water shortages, declining yields, and periods of food insecurity, accompanied by economic downturns. In particular, the country’s agricultural [...] Read more.
The devastating impacts of drought are fast becoming a global concern. Zimbabwe is among the countries more severely affected, where drought impacts have led to water shortages, declining yields, and periods of food insecurity, accompanied by economic downturns. In particular, the country’s agricultural sector, mostly comprised of smallholder rainfed systems, is at great risk of drought. In this study, a multimethod approach is applied, including a remote sensing-based analysis of vegetation health data from 1989–2019 to assess the drought hazard, as well as a spatial analysis combined with expert consultations to determine drought vulnerability and exposure of agricultural systems. The results show that droughts frequently occur with changing patterns across Zimbabwe. Every district has been affected by drought during the past thirty years, with varying levels of severity and frequency. Severe drought episodes have been observed in 1991–1992, 1994–1995, 2002–2003, 2015–2016, and 2018–2019. Drought vulnerability and exposure vary substantially in the country, with the south-western provinces of Matabeleland North and South showing particularly high levels. Assessments of high-risk areas, combined with an analysis of the drivers of risk, set the path towards tailor-made adaptation strategies that consider drought frequency and severity, exposure, and vulnerability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
The Integrated Spatial Pattern of Child Mortality during the 2012–2016 Drought in La Guajira, Colombia
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247190 - 15 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1803
Abstract
The El Niño phenomenon in 2012 triggered a drought in La Guajira, Colombia that extended until 2016. In this period, the average child mortality rate in the area reached 23.4 out of 1000. The aim of this paper is to identify the integrated [...] Read more.
The El Niño phenomenon in 2012 triggered a drought in La Guajira, Colombia that extended until 2016. In this period, the average child mortality rate in the area reached 23.4 out of 1000. The aim of this paper is to identify the integrated spatial pattern (ISP) of a single indicator in this case; child mortality. At the same time, the ISP identifies causes and priority areas for action. The socio-economic vulnerability (SEV) variables and spatial indicators related to child mortality were selected from the literature review and through meetings, workshops, and interviews with the affected community during fieldwork. Using correlation analysis and stepwise regression, the SEV variables with more accountability in child mortality during the drought were identified: Households with a monthly income of less than 100 USD, the number of people older than 65, and the number of people younger than 5 years old. Allocating weights to the SEV variables according to their degree of accountability in child mortality, its ISP has been identified. The far north of La Guajira was detected as the area most affected by child mortality and was, therefore, the priority zone for implementing actions focused on generating new sources of income. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
A PGIS-Based Climate Change Risk Assessment Process for Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Dependent Communities
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3300; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123300 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1631
Abstract
Climate change is affecting human and geophysical systems in a variety of complex and interdependent ways. For nature-based tourism-dependent communities like those along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, impacts to the region’s abundant natural resources can subsequently affect the livelihoods [...] Read more.
Climate change is affecting human and geophysical systems in a variety of complex and interdependent ways. For nature-based tourism-dependent communities like those along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, impacts to the region’s abundant natural resources can subsequently affect the livelihoods of individuals who depend upon those resources to provide essential ecosystem services and support the region’s economy. Many of the area’s natural and outdoor recreation resources are collaboratively managed, making cooperation essential to address climate change impacts. In this study, we engaged North Shore stakeholders in a climate change risk assessment process through an exploratory application of participatory geographic information systems (PGIS). Stakeholder involvement allows for the co-production of science to deliver locally-relevant data and information. Involving stakeholders through a PGIS-based climate change risk assessment process allows locally-relevant data and information to be represented and visualized spatially. We used PGIS focus groups, as well as pre- and post-surveys, to solicit stakeholders’ perceptions of risk thresholds (i.e., the time scale of impacts) and climate-related risk severity to sites with built infrastructure, natural amenities, and recreation and tourism destinations. The stakeholders’ knowledge, as well as their commitment to their communities and local environments, influenced general perceptions of region-wide climate-related vulnerabilities. The PGIS exercises generated important discussion among stakeholders and shed light on how to more efficiently collect spatially-explicit data and information from stakeholders that can be used to inform mitigation and adaptation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Socio-ecological Interactions in a Changing Climate: A Review of the Mongolian Pastoral System
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5883; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215883 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1361
Abstract
Coping with climate change in socio-ecological systems is one of the most urgent issues facing the world. This is particularly true in socio-ecological systems, where climate not only influences social and ecosystem dynamics, but also modulates their interaction. In this paper, we presented [...] Read more.
Coping with climate change in socio-ecological systems is one of the most urgent issues facing the world. This is particularly true in socio-ecological systems, where climate not only influences social and ecosystem dynamics, but also modulates their interaction. In this paper, we presented a conceptual framework through a literature review and a trend analysis for assessing the impact of climate change that incorporates socio-ecological interactions. In particular, we focused on the Mongolian pastoral system, which has tightly coupled socio-ecological interactions, as a model for describing the framework. Our framework suggests that the flexibility in mobility of herders is the principal factor in determining the vulnerability of the socio-ecological system to climate change. The flexibility varies along a climatic gradient and socio-ecological interactions in each region have evolved to be suited to its local climate regime. Herders in northern and central regions of Mongolia move shorter distances, and less flexible, than those in southern (Gobi) region. Climatic hazards, on the other hand have been increasing across Mongolia with a trend toward warmer and drier conditions since the 1960s. We suggest that further warming and drying would have the greatest impact on northern and central regions due to lower flexibility in mobility among herders there coupled with the much higher livestock density in the regions. The findings support that maintaining flexibility of mobile herding will likely be crucial to reducing the vulnerability of the Mongolian pastoral system to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Risk and Vulnerability Mapping)
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