For those who depend on the bounty of the sea for their livelihoods, climate change and its consequences (warming water, coral bleaching, rising sea levels) could spell disaster. The region comprising the eastern coastline of Africa and the islands of the western Indian Ocean--home to many of the Earth's most impoverished people--is particularly vulnerable to significant climate impacts. Focusing on coral reef fisheries in these areas, which collectively support millions of people, this book provides a tool box of options for confronting the consequences of climate change through building local-scale adaptive capacity and improving the condition of natural resources. This requires strengthening a society's flexibility, assets, learning, and social organizations, as well as restricting or limiting its resource use. These two broad concepts--building social capacity and limiting certain types of resource use--interact in complicated ways, requiring coordinated actions. The authors argue that adaptation solutions are context dependent, determined in part by local resource conditions, human adaptive capacity, and exposure to climate change impacts, but also by a people's history, culture, and aspirations. Providing an up-to-date and original synthesis of environmental stress, natural resources, and the socioecomics of climate change, Adapting to a Changing Environment develops a framework to provide governments, scientists, managers, and dors with critical information about local context, encouraging the implementation of nuanced actions that reflect local conditions.
Tim McClanahan is a Senior Conservation Zoologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society. His science and conservation work focuses on tropical fisheries, climate change, ecology, and management of coral reefs. Joshua Cinner is Senior Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. A human geographer, his research explores how poverty and other socioeconomic conditions influence how people use and govern natural resources.