Defining Individual Climate Change Adaptation: Insights from Temperate Forests

Authors: Alexandra Paige Fischer*, University of Michigan
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Global Change, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: Climate change adaptation, individuals, forests
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Grand Chenier, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The potential impacts of climate change on temperate forests are well-recognized and a wide variety of adaptation strategies and practices have been proposed. However, less is known about how individual private forest owners—who control large proportions of forestland area in many temperate forest countries—will be affected and how they may adapt. I investigated how individual private forestland owners perceive and respond to climate change impacts in forests through nine focus groups across a gradient of socio-ecological contexts in the Upper Midwest, USA. I characterize their responses in terms of theoretical adaptation behavior and identify key factors that explain their decisions to adjust their forest management behaviors in response to past climate impacts and in anticipation of future climate impacts. Drawing on these findings, I reflect on the current state of knowledge about individual adaptation to climate change and offer suggestions for how to improve conceptual frameworks for understanding individual adaptation behavior.

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