See below for some of the articles that was published in the latest edition of Annual Review of Environmental Resources 37
Wicked Challenges at Land’s End: Managing Coastal Vulnerability Under Climate Change
Susanne C. Moser, S. Jeffress Williams, and Donald F. Boesch
Abstract: With continuing influx of large numbers of people into coastal regions, human stresses on coastal ecosystems and resources are growing at the same time that climate variability and change and associated consequences in the marine environment are making coastal areas less secure for human habitation. The article reviews both climatic and nonclimatic drivers of the growing stresses on coastal natural and human systems, painting a picture of the mostly harmful impacts that result and the interactive and systemic challenges coastal managers face in managing these growing risks. Although adaptive responses are beginning to emerge, the adaptation challenge is enormous and requires not just incremental but also transformative changes. At the same time, such “wicked” problems, by definition, defy all-encompassing, definitive, and final solutions; instead, temporary best solutions will have to be sought in the context of an iterative, deliberately learning-oriented risk management framework.
Climate and Water: Knowledge of Impacts to Action on Adaptation
Michael Kiparsky, Anita Milman, and Sebastian Vicuña
Abstract: As adaptation becomes more tightly integrated into the range of responses to climate change, understanding how knowledge of climate change impacts and vulnerabilities can be effectively used is essential both to direct research and to support action. This article reviews literature along an intellectual transect from knowledge of climate impacts on water systems to the influence of that knowledge on adaptation responses. We discuss scientific evidence for changing hydroclimatic regimes, methods for translating climatic information into results relevant to adaptation, uncertainties in these results, methods for addressing uncertainty via adaptation processes, challenges and opportunities for knowledge development and transfer, and sociopolitical factors that enable or hinder the use of knowledge. Challenges remain in developing and applying methods for identifying and reducing underlying vulnerabilities and reliably connecting technical knowledge of climate impacts with local needs remains an unsolved problem. But new decision-making methods and the potential to learn from analogous water management situations provide hope for near-term progress.
Disaster Governance: Social, Political, and Economic Dimensions
Abstract: Disaster governance is an emerging concept in the disaster research literature that is closely related to risk governance and environmental governance. Disaster governance arrangements and challenges are shaped by forces such as globalization, world-system dynamics, social inequality, and sociodemographic trends. Governance regimes are polycentric and multiscale, show variation across the hazards cycle, and tend to lack integration and to be formulated in response to particular large-scale disaster events. Disaster governance is nested within and influenced by overarching societal governance systems. Although governance failures can occur in societies with stable governance systems, as the governmental response to Hurricane Katrina shows, poorly governed societies and weak states are almost certain to exhibit deficiencies in disaster governance. State-civil society relationships, economic organization, and societal transitions have implications for disaster governance. Various measures can be employed to assess disaster governance; more research is needed in this nascent field of study on factors that contribute to effective governance and on other topics, such as the extent to which governance approaches contribute to long-term sustainability.
Multiactor Governance and the Environment
Peter Newell, Philipp Pattberg, and Heike Schroeder
Abstract: This review critically assesses a large and growing literature on multiactor environmental governance. The first section provides an historical and conceptual background to the observed increase in such arrangements. The second section describes the diversity of governance arrangements and the related actor constellations to address environmental issues, and the third section offers some explanations for the origins, form, and effectiveness of multiactor governance arrangements. The conclusion reflects on some of the key challenges in advancing and deepening research in this area and suggests some fruitful avenues for future work.
Toward Principles for Enhancing the Resilience of Ecosystem Services
Biggs et al.
Abstract: Enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services (ES) that underpin human well-being is critical for meeting current and future societal needs, and requires specific governance and management policies. Using the literature, we identify seven generic policy-relevant principles for enhancing the resilience of desired ES in the face of disturbance and ongoing change in social-ecological systems (SES). These principles are (P1) maintain diversity and redundancy, (P2) manage connectivity, (P3) manage slow variables and feedbacks, (P4) foster an understanding of SES as complex adaptive systems (CAS), (P5) encourage learning and experimentation, (P6) broaden participation, and (P7) promote polycentric governance systems. We briefly define each principle, review how and when it enhances the resilience of ES, and conclude with major research gaps. In practice, the principles often co-occur and are highly interdependent. Key future needs are to better understand these interdependencies and to operationalize and apply the principles in different policy and management contexts.
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