A Process-Oriented Sustainable Livelihoods Approach–A Tool For Increased Understanding of Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience

Article

Abstract

The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) is often proposed to holistically capture vulnerability in assessments of livelihoods in aid and development programs. The full capacity of the approach has however only rarely been used in these assessments, lacking a clear account of processes of change and flexibility of assets, as well as the ability to quantify all capital assets of a livelihood system. The descriptions of livelihoods so far are in fact non-holistic. This paper attempts to use SLA in its full capacity through a quantification of the different capitals covered; natural, physical, economic, social and human. Further, the relationships between capitals are explored in a Chinese rural context of changing climate and land-use, and examples are given on how investments in one capital in reality can end up being accounted for in other capitals. The results indicate that through an analytical and process-oriented SLA, an effective tool for assessment of vulnerability can be developed. Such a tool would assist development organizations and policy-makers to target poverty traps and escape routes in the face of rapid and multiple changes.

Keywords

adaptation assessment tool China rural small-scale farmers sustainable livelihoods approach vulnerability 

References

  1. Adger, W.: 2000, ‘Social and ecological resilience: are they related?’ Progress in Human Geography 24, 347–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adger, W., Huq, S., Brown, K., Conway, D. and Hulme, M.: 2003, ‘Adaptation to climate change in the developing world’, Progress in Development Studies 3, 179–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, DFID, Directorate-General for Development (European Commission), Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany), Ministry of Foreign Affairs — Development Cooperation (Netherlands), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, UNDP, UNEP, and the World Bank: 2004, Poverty and Climate Change. Reducing the Vulnerability of the Poor through Adaptation. http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/ESSD/envext.nsf/46ByDocName/Publications
  4. Baumann, H. and Tillman, A.-M.: 2004, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to LCA. Studentlitteratur, Lund, Sweden.Google Scholar
  5. Boyd, C. and Turton, C.: 2000, The Contribution of Soil and Water Conservation to Sustainable Livelihoods in Semi-arid Areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, ODI Agricultural Research & Extension Network. Network Paper Nr. 102.Google Scholar
  6. Chambers, R. and Conway, G.R.: 1991. Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: Practical Concepts for the 21st Century, Institute of Development Studies DP 296:1991. University of Sussex, Brighton.Google Scholar
  7. Gunderson, L.: 2000, ‘Ecological Resilience — In Theory and Application’, Annual Review of Ecological Systems 31, 425–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hageback, J. and Sundberg, J.: 2002, Climate variations in relation to local scale land use and farmers perception of climate in Danangou watershed on the Loess Plateau, China, Earth Sciences Centre, Göteborg University B335.Google Scholar
  9. Hageback, J., Sundberg, J., Ostwald, M., Chen, D., Yun, X. and Knutsson, P.: 2005, ‘Climate variability and land-use change in Danangou watershed, China — Examples of small-scale farmers adaptation’, Accepted in Climatic Change.Google Scholar
  10. Hu, W.: 1997, Household land tenure reform in China: Its impact on farming land and agroenvironment. Land Use Policy 14, 175–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Huq, S. and Reid, H.: 2004, ‘Mainstreaming Adaptation in Development’, IDS Bulletin 35(3), 11–15.Google Scholar
  12. IPCC: 2001, Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Summary for Policy Makers. Cambridge Universtiy Press.Google Scholar
  13. Khan, F.I., Sadiq, R. and Veitch, B: 2004, ‘Life cycle iNdeX (LInX): a new indexing procedure for process and product design and decision-making’, Journal of Cleaner Production 12, 59–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kelly, P. and Adger, W.: 2000, ‘Theory and Practice in Assessing Vulnerability to Climate Change and Facilitating Adaptation’, Climatic Change 47, 325–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Knutsson, P.: 2005a, ‘Deconstructing the sustainable livelihoods approach? The application of an analytical framework for assessment of knowledge integration’, Submitted to Human Ecology Review.Google Scholar
  16. Knutsson, P.: 2005b, ‘The inequality of rural livelihoods in two neighbouring villages in Shaanxi Province, China’, Proceedings of the IRSA (International Rural Sociology Association) XI Congress, Trondheim, Norway, July 2004. Submitted to The International Journal of Agrarian Change.Google Scholar
  17. Lindenberg, M.: 2004, ‘Measuring household livelihood security at the family and community level in the developing world’, World development 30, 301–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Liu, G.: 1999, ‘Soil conservation and sustainable agriculture on the Loess Plateau: Challenges and prospects’, Ambio 28, 663–668.Google Scholar
  19. Lu, M. and Wang, E.: 2002, ‘Forging ahead and falling behind: Changing regional Inequalities in post-reform China’, Growth and Change 33, 42–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. O'Brien, K., Eriksen, S., Schjolden, A. and Nygaard, L.: 2004, What's in a Word? Conflicting interpretations of vulnerability in climate change research. CICERO Working Paper 2004:04. Oslo, Norway.Google Scholar
  21. Ostrom, E.: 1999, ‘Coping With Tragedies of the Commons’, Annual Review of Political Science 2, 493–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ostwald, M., Chen, D., Xie, Y., Knutsson, P., Brogaard, S., Borne, K. and Chen, Y.: 2004, Impact of climate change and variability on local-scale land use, Shaanxi Province, China, Earth Sciences Centre, Göteborg Universisty, C61.Google Scholar
  23. Reilly, J. and Schimmelpfennig, D.: 2000, ‘Irreversibility, uncertainty, and learning: Portraits of adaptation to long-term climate change’, Climatic Change 45, 253–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Scoones, I.: 1997, Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: A Framework for Analysis. Institute of Development Studies Working Paper 72:1998. University of Sussex, Brighton.Google Scholar
  25. Scoones, I.: 2004, ‘Climate change and the challenge of non-equilibrium thinking’, IDS Bulletin 35, 11–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Skinner, M.W., Kuhn, R.G. and Joseph, A.E.: 2001, ‘Agricultural land protection in China: A case study of local governance in Zhejiang Province’, Land Use Policy 18, 32–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Solesbury, W.: 2003, Sustainable Livelihoods: A Case Study of the Evolution of DFID Policy. ODI Working Paper 217. London. June 2003.Google Scholar
  28. The Task Force on Climate Change, Vulnerable Communities and Adaptation: 2003, Livelihoods and Climate Change. Combining disaster risk reduction, natural resource management and climate change adaptation in a new approach to the reduction of vulnerability and poverty. International Institute for Sustainable Development, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and Stockholm Environment Institute.Google Scholar
  29. UNDP: 2002, Calculating the Human Development Indices (Technical Note 1 in Human Development Report).Google Scholar
  30. Yeh, A.G. and Li, X.: 1999, ‘Economic development and agricultural land loss in the Pearl river delta, China’, Habitat International 23, 373–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Ecology Section, Department for regional studies on the human conditionGöteborg UniversityGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Earth Sciences Centre, Physical GeographyGöteborg UniversitySweden

Personalised recommendations