1509 Role of Land Change Science in Exploring Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation

Sunday, February 21, 2010: 8:30 AM
Room 6F (San Diego Convention Center)
Daniel G. Brown , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Land-change science, which has coalesced in recent years around the study of such land-based processes as land use, land management, land cover change, and land tenure, creates opportunities for understanding the mechanisms that generate vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. By combining satellite observations of land change with field observations of human decision making and ecosystem processes, the field aims at understanding the interactions between human and natural systems that occur on the land surface. While much of the early work focused on understanding humans as drivers of ecological change and, e.g., carbon emissions from land, a mature land-change science simultaneously evaluates how human well-being is affected by these interactions. While choices about land policy, management, and use affect global change, they also affect human livelihoods and well being. I first present research on how land change can provide a structure for the evaluation of vulnerability to climate-related hazards. The research draws on the case of the Poyang Lake Region, in the Central Yangtze Basin of China and build on the core methods of land change science. I then describe two distinct pathways by which land change can interact with adaptation to climate change, as: (a) a process that is independent of climate change but can serve as either an opportunity or constraint in the adaptation process; and (b) a potential means by which climate change adaptation can be undertaken. This focus provides the basis for investigating adaptation strategies under given levels of climate variability and as a process of responding to changes in climatic means and ranges.
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