Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 825–837

Climate change adaptation planning in remote, resource-dependent communities: an Arctic example

Original Article


This paper develops a methodology for climate change adaptation planning in remote, resource-dependent communities. The methods are structured using a vulnerability framework, and community members, local stakeholders and researchers are engaged in an iterative planning process to identify, describe, prioritize and pilot adaptation actions. The methods include: (1) analysis of secondary sources of information, (2) community collaboration and partnership building, (3) adaptation planning workshops, (4) adaptation plan development, (5) key informant and community review and (6) pilot adaptation actions. Vulnerability to climate change is assessed in the context of other non-climatic factors—social, political, economic and environmental, already being experienced in communities and which influence how climate change is experienced and responded to. Key exposure-sensitivities and related adaptation options are identified in five sectors of a community: business and economy, culture and learning, health and well-being, subsistence harvesting, and transportation and infrastructure. This organization allows for focused discussions and the involvement of relevant stakeholders and experts from each sector. The methodology is applied in Paulatuk, an Inuit community located in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR), Northwest Territories (NWT), Canada, and key findings are highlighted. The methods developed have important lessons for adaptation planning in remote, resource-dependent communities generally and contributes to a small but growing scholarship on methodology in the human dimensions of climate change.


Climate change Inuvialuit Adaptation Adaptation planning Arctic Remote communities Participatory research Climate policy  Inuit 

Supplementary material

10113_2012_297_MOESM1_ESM.docx (10.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 11065 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Geography, University of GuelphGuelphCanada
  3. 3.Community of PaulatukPaulatuk, NWTCanada

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