Defining Adaptation Success: Views from Science and Coastal Management

Sunday, February 17, 2013
Room 201 (Hynes Convention Center)
Susanne C. Moser , Susanne Moser Research and Consulting, Santa Cruz, CA
Adaptation to climate change is now a common concern on policy and management agendas of national and subnational governments, planning fo a climate-altered future is becoming common place and some adaptive actions are being taken. This has led many decision-makers, program managers, and other stakeholders to ask what adaptation success would look like and how one would evaluate adaptation effectiveness over time. This paper will present comparative insights on these questions from a multi-disciplinary workshop with scientists and three workshops with coastal managers and stakeholders held in Oregon, Washington and California. Results indicate the necessity to consider both adaptation process and outcomes; and the challenges in particular to define "successful outcomes" given their context-dependent, temporal, and inevitable normative dimensions. Core principles, however, can be discerned, and the potential for transferability to other sectors will be discussed.