Given the uncertainty around the climate in the future, ensuring natural resource managers have as many management options as possible is extremely important. In 2015, Blue Sense Principal, Michelle, worked with Geoff Park from Natural Decisions for three Victorian catchment management authorities (CMAs) to help develop their regional climate change adaptation and mitigation plans.
An important part of this project was introducing “adaptation pathways”. By applying an adaptation pathways approach in the plans, we were able to keep as many management options open as possible to the NRM managers.
Adaptation pathways have not been widely uses in Australia, overseas the approach has been applied in settlement, health and infrastructure.
The Southern Slopes Climate Change Adaptation Research Partnership (SCARP) define adaptation pathways as “A pathway approach allows us to move forward in the face of uncertainty by considering a range of adaptation actions and sequences as new information and data become available”.
In working with CMAs this approach was applied to a range of issues, including: habitat connectivity planning, floodplain management for carbon and biodiversity outcomes, water resource management and sustainable grazing systems.
In doing so we considered issues of feasibility, risk, adoption and cost, to evaluate the usefulness of different adaptation options. The matter of tipping points and thresholds has been challenging – while these are appealing and often useful concepts, the ability to establish them in practice for complex systems can be difficult, often impossible.
Read more about this project