Interactions of Social, Natural, and Technological Subsystems and Synergy between Development and Adaptation to Floods around Poyang Lake

Authors: Luguang Jiang*, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Qing Tian, Computational Social Science Program, College of Science, George Mason University, Rui Zhang, Computational Social Science Program, College of Science, George Mason University, Andrew Crooks, Computational Social Science Program, College of Science, George Mason University, Shuhua Qi, Key Laboratory of Poyang Lake Wetland and Watershed Research, Ministry of Education, Jiangxi Normal University, Ruixin Yang, Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science, George Mason University
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Land Use and Land Cover Change, China
Keywords: flood hazards,agricultural land use,coupled human-environment system,sustainability,Poyang Lake
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: 8217, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Rural populations in the developing world face great challenges in climate adaptation and human development. Broader development and climate adaptation can potentially enhance each other, and their positive synergies are essential to improve human well-being in less developed rural areas. Such synergies are, however, commonly lacking across developing countries. This paper examines the relationship between climate adaptation and broader development and finds a positive synergy in the Poyang Lake Region (PLR) – an important rice producing area in China that is vulnerable to flood hazards. We further examine household decision-making and link household decisions to rice cropping patterns interpreted from satellite images to explain the micro- to macro- mechanisms that lead to this synergy. The analysis shows that both the broader development context (national economic development and agricultural policy) and specific risk management (levees) are important for creating the positive synergy. Moreover, it is the right interactions of the social, natural, and technological subsystems that enable rural households to make different land-use and livelihood choices in a way that improves rural livelihoods and reduces flood impacts on rural livelihoods. The diverse household choices then collectively lead to preservation of rice production, despite the negative influence from increasing nonfarm work, and decreased flood impacts on agriculture.

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