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Social-ecological networks are crucial for small-scale fisheries adaptation to climate change

Diego Salgueiro Otero leads an study that clarifies the adaptation pathway of fishers and identify the role of specific structures of social-ecological capital in their adaptive behavior

07/10/2022 -

Despite dependent human communities on marine resources are in the frontline of the impacts, little is known about how adaptation works and what pathway leads towards sustainability. For that reason, Diego Salgueiro Otero, Michele Barnes and Elena Ojea decided to use and integrate the Adaptation Process, the Adaptive Capacity and the Continuum of Network Configuration Frameworks empirically in order to better explain the functioning of adaptation in fisheries social-ecological system.

For this research, scientists chose the Galician small-scale fisheries system as case study covering the diversity of conditions and conduct 404 surveys asking for socio-economic aspects, environmental data and individual responses under hypothetical climate change scenarios.

The first main result of this study published in the journal Scientific Reports confirm the Adaptation Process Framework. This investigation show that most fishers navigate through the stages remain-cope-adapt-transform when they experience incremental climate change impacts scenarios. Focused on the organizational adaptive capacity domain, the outcomes of the multinomial multilevel logit mixed effect models demonstrate that social-ecological networks play key roles driving people toward adaptive (i.e., bonding communication ties), transformative (i.e., bridging communication ties) and the status quo (i.e., communication with informal leaders) behavior under such climate change conditions.

The insights provided by these results have implications for the small-scale fisheries more broadly, as well as cross sectorial adaptation theory. And advanced understanding of the role of social-ecological network structures on adaptive responses can further help to improve strategies for navigating change in fishing communities and other social-ecological systems.

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CATEGORIES: Clock, Diego Salgueiro, Elena Ojea, Future Oceans Lab, Research, Results