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Environmental Management

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 331–345 | Cite as

Farmers’ Perceived Risks of Climate Change and Influencing Factors: A Study in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

  • Hoa Le Dang
  • Elton Li
  • Ian Nuberg
  • Johan Bruwer
Article

Abstract

Many countries are confronting climate change that threatens agricultural production and farmers’ lives. Farmers’ perceived risks of climate change and factors influencing those perceived risks are critical to their adaptive behavior and well-planned adaptation strategies. However, there is limited understanding of these issues. In this paper, we attempt to quantitatively measure farmers’ perceived risks of climate change and explore the influences of risk experience, information, belief in climate change, and trust in public adaptation to those perceived risks. Data are from structured interviews with 598 farmers in the Mekong Delta. The study shows that perceived risks to production, physical health, and income dimensions receive greater priority while farmers pay less attention to risks to happiness and social relationships. Experiences of the events that can be attributed to climate change increase farmers’ perceived risks. Information variables can increase or decrease perceived risks, depending on the sources of information. Farmers who believe that climate change is actually happening and influencing their family’s lives, perceive higher risks in most dimensions. Farmers who think that climate change is not their concern but the government’s, perceive lower risks to physical health, finance, and production. As to trust in public adaptation, farmers who believe that public adaptive measures are well co-ordinated, perceive lower risks to production and psychology. Interestingly, those who believe that the disaster warning system is working well, perceive higher risks to finance, production, and social relationships. Further attention is suggested for the quality, timing, and channels of information about climate change and adaptation.

Keywords

Belief in climate change Climate change Information Perceived risk Risk experience Trust in public adaptation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper is part of a PhD research at the University of Adelaide. This PhD research is made possible under the sponsor of AusAID to Hoa Le Dang. Data collection for the research is funded by the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, the University of Adelaide. We are very grateful to the Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development of 6 districts: Long Phu and My Tu (Soc Trang Province), Thap Muoi and Tam Nong (Dong Thap Province), and Duc Hoa and Thanh Hoa (Long An Province) for their great help and support in organising farmer interviews. We would like to thank 20 undergraduate students of Nong Lam University, local guides and farm households in the Mekong Delta in helping and supporting our interviews during December 2011 and January 2012. We thank Alison-Jane Hunter for editing the manuscript and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hoa Le Dang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elton Li
    • 1
  • Ian Nuberg
    • 1
  • Johan Bruwer
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Agriculture, Food and WineThe University of AdelaideUrrbraeAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of EconomicsNong Lam UniversityHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  3. 3.School of MarketingUniversity of South AustraliaNorth TerraceAustralia
  4. 4.School of PsychologyCharles Sturt UniversityWagga WaggaAustralia

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