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Behavioral adaptation to climate change: Risk experience and risk appraisal in the context of managed forests

Authors: Riva Denny*, University of Michigan, Paige Fischer, University of Michigan
Topics: Environmental Perception, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: Protection Motivation Theory, climate change, risk perception, risk experience, forest land owners, Midwest
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual Track 9
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Understanding climate change adaptation at the individual level has been a challenge because of the absence of a coherent and comprehensive body of empirical research and theory regarding how and why individuals adapt. Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) and its derivations, such as Grothmann and Patt’s (2005) model of private proactive adaptation to climate change (MPPACC), offer one approach to understanding individual level climate change adaptation. PMT focuses on risk appraisal and response appraisal as two key classes of predictors of adaptation behavior. However, there is inconsistency in the literature on the role of risk experience as a predictor of risk appraisal or of adaptation behavior in both the conceptual models and the empirical applications. When adaptation behavior is more associated with risk appraisal than risk experience it suggests the potential for anticipatory adaptation: in other words, the potential for people to adapt to risks that they have not yet experienced but might in the future. In this analyses we explore the relationships between risk experience, risk appraisal and adaptation behavior, using data from a survey of private forest woodland owners in areas that have been exposed to climate change impacts in the Upper Midwest.

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