With climate change proceeding faster than previously expected, we are beginning to realize that adapting to it will be as important as mitigating it.
How we build resilience to adapt to the effects of climate change – rising sea levels, drought, increased rainfall, changes in agricultural productivity – in the face of unprecedented development challenges was the topic of a recent conference called “Resilience 2014″.
The Center for International Forestry Research covered the event extensively. We document their coverage below.
New research seeks to gauge forests’ role in climate adaptation. How do forests reduce society’s vulnerability to variations in climate? Obsrevations from several field sites in Kalimantan, Indonesia suggest that local people relied heavily on the forest to prepare for and reduce the impact of floods.
Focus on resilience can risk turning into a power grab, researchers caution. Building resilient systems may just reinforce existing inequality and power imbalances, making the powerful more powerful. “Even when you target vulnerable groups, you need to ensure that beyond their representatives, the people are actually empowered,” scientists say.
The choices farmers make: Board game helps scientists understand land use decisions. If you inherited a piece of Central American forest, how would you decide whether to farm or leave trees standing? A board game helps scientists find out.
Incrementalism vs. transformation: How to change in the face of climate change? It may seem like an academic debate, but it could have significant policy implications.
Communities willing to mitigate climate change — with a little help, research shows. This highlights important challenges for participatory carbon monitoring in forest communities, while they can conduct efficient carbon monitoring, but that it is alien to the everyday tasks of communities. Such an approach would have most success where forests are already managed by communities, particularly if MRV data could provide a strong link between carbon storage and effective community forest management (and thus support rights claims).
Missed opportunities in joint funding for mitigation and adaptation, experts say. At the international level, there is no fund explicitly supporting a combined approach to mitigation and adaptation, despite nearly 22 fund managers agreeing that there would be clear benefits in such an approach. “In many cases, fund managers are in a position to act on the barriers they mentioned,” said Bruno Locatelli, CIFOR scientist. “But they receive money from agencies and ministries that target their funding solely towards mitigation (for example in the energy sector) or adaptation (if they focus on development). This division shapes action on the ground so that project developers consider only one side of the coin when designing their projects.