Adaptation of Social-Ecological Systems in Polar Regions

Type: Lightning Paper
Sponsor Groups: Polar Geography Specialty Group, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters Specialty Group
Organizers: Michelle Ritchie
Chairs: Michelle Ritchie

Call for Submissions

We invite papers that include, but are not limited to:

•A focus on conceptual or applied adaptation studies in polar regions
•Social-ecological system frameworks, analyses, or case studies
•Topics such as transformative processes, complexity theory, panarchy, adaptive cycles
•Creative, critical, or mixed methods (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, spatial)

Participants from all backgrounds, career stages, and sub-disciplines are encouraged to participate and attend.
If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract or brief summary of ideas explaining how your research aligns with this CFP to Michelle Ritchie ( by September 30th. Full abstracts are due on October 30th.


Climate change has profound implications for polar social-ecological dynamics, particularly considering the need for mitigation and adaptation amid increasingly unstable environmental conditions (e.g., hazard events) and increasing levels of unpredictability. Up until recently, adaptation studies focused primarily on the categorization of planned adaptations using an “adaptation for resilience” approach, as reflected in many governmental agencies and reports (i.e., the IPCC).

We must continue to move beyond resilience thinking to include (1) unplanned (mal)adaptation, (2) adaptation for transformation (e.g., radical change), and (3) underlying social and ecological processes supporting adaptation. We must also engage with and develop methodological configurations that support these research endeavors within the context of social-ecological systems. Therefore, this session seeks to explore perspectives on adaptation within the social-ecological systems of polar regions to foster a discussion across sub-fields, regions, methodologies, and career stages.


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