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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Climate vulnerability and contrasting climate perceptions as an element for the development of community adaptation strategies: Case studies in Southern Brazil

Bonatti, Michelle; Sieber, Stefan; Schlindwein, Sandro L.; Lana, Marcos A.; de Vasconcelos, Ana C. F.; Gentile, Elvira; Boulanger, Jean-Philippe; Plencovich, Maria C.; Malheiros, Tadeu F.


The study of psychological barriers and the attribution of social meaning is a complex and subjective process, but essential for the development of strategies to adapt to climate change and land-use management. The objective of this paper is to point out and discuss aspects that comprise climate vulnerability, especially regarding the climate perceptions understood as an element for the development of community adaptation strategies. The first part presents two study cases and the second part presents propositions for developing climate adaptation strategies based on the results of these cases. The paper focuses on two aspects: the perception of climate dynamics and the relationship between vulnerability and local climate dynamics. In order to establish the relationship between climate dynamics and the level of vulnerability perceived, a qualitative approach was adopted. Field data collection consisted of observing local civil association meetings and conducting semi-structured interviews with local actors. Although both communities studied are strongly affected by climate events, their perception of climate influences is essentially different. The difference in perception arises mainly from the different context in which climate events acquire meaning, rather than any ability of assigning meaning to possible climate change. To understand the dynamics of establishing an adaptation strategy, the motivational problems would be a stimulus, a causative agent of reflections on the conditions of vulnerability to climate change and reflection about their limit-situations. The final propositions present "Adaptation learning process pre-steps framework" that emerges from the description of contrasts in perceptions/cognitions observed between the two study cases. It is a model for the visualization of different and better living conditions, the unknown-viable, which enable social actors to become aware of capacity of acting and governance. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Climate change; Governance; Landscape; Conflict; Perceptions

Published in

Land Use Policy
2016, Volume: 58, pages: 114-122

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
    Agricultural Science

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