Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 581–593 | Cite as

Integration, synthesis and climate change adaptation: a narrative based on coastal wetlands at the regional scale

  • Jennifer G. Burley
  • Ryan R. J. McAllister
  • Kerry A. Collins
  • Catherine E. Lovelock
Original Article


The idea that integration and synthesis are critical for designing climate change adaptation and mitigation is well entrenched conceptually. Here, we review the concepts of adaptation, synthesis and integration and apply them to the case study of coastal wetlands in South East Queensland, Australia. The distribution and condition of coastal wetlands will change as climate changes. This will create conservation challenges and economic costs, but these can be minimised by drawing from a broad sectoral perspective in undertaking adaptation planning and by ensuring integration into policy. Our review indicates that adaptations to sea level rise that are focussed on wetland and biodiversity conservation are likely to have impacts for urbanisation patterns. Planning regulations that provide spatial buffering around wetlands may give rise to more compact urban forms that may lead to reductions in the cost of defence against sea level rise, reduce energy usage per person and provide more green space. However, more compact urban forms could exacerbate heat island effects and place greater burden on the economically disadvantaged as, for example, single-family homes become more expensive. Planning for climate change needs to balance these equity and cross-sectoral issues in order to reduce the likelihood of unforeseen negative consequences.


Regional planning Moreton bay Sunshine coast Gold coast Governance Brisbane Mangroves Salt marsh 


  1. Abel N, Gorddard R, Harman B, Leitch A, Langridge J, Ryan A, Heyenga S (2011) Sea level rise,coastal development and planned retreat: analytical framework, governance principles and an Australian case study. Environ Sci Policy doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2010.12.002
  2. Aburto-Oropeza O, Ezcurra E, Danemann G, Valdez V, Murray J, Sala E (2008) Mangroves in the Gulf of California increase fishery yields. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:10456–10459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adger WN, Arnell NW, Tompkins EL (2005) Successful adaptation to climate change across scales. Glob Environ Change 15:77–86. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2004.12.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. AECOM (2010) Coastal inundation at Narrabeen lagoon: optimising adaptation investment. Department of Climate Change, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  5. Alongi DM (2002) Present state and future of the world’s mangrove forests. Environ Conserv 29:331–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Andrey J, Mills B (2004) Transportation. In: Lemmen D, Warren F (eds) Climate change impacts and adaptation: a Canadian perspective. Natural Resources Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  7. Bache I, Flinders M (2004) Themes and Issues in multi-level governance. In: Bache I, Flinders M (eds) Multi-level Governance. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bambrick HJ, Capon AG, Barnett GB, Beaty RM, Burton AJ (2011) Climate change and health in the urban environment: adaptation opportunities in Australian cities. Asia Pac J Public Health 23:67–79. doi:10.1177/1010539510391774 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barbier EB, Koch EW, Silliman BR, Hacker SD, Wolanski E, Primavera J, Granek EF, Polasky S, Aswani S, Cramer LA, Stoms DM, Kennedy CJ, Bael D, Kappel CV, Perillo GME, Reed DJ (2008) Coastal ecosystem-based management with nonlinear ecological functions and values. Science 319:321–323. doi:10.1126/science.1150349 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Baron JS, Joyce LA, Griffith B, Kareiva P, Keller BD, Palmer M, Peterson C, Scott JM (2008) Preliminary review of adaptation options for climate-sensitive ecosystems and resources. In: Julius SH, West JM (eds) Final report, synthesis and assessment product 44. U.S. climate change science program and the subcommittee on global change research, Washington, D.CGoogle Scholar
  11. Bohunovsky L, Jäger J, Omann I (2011) Participatory scenario development for integrated sustainability assessment. Reg Envir Chang 11:271–284. doi:10.1007/s10113-010-0143-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bulleri F, Chapman MG (2010) The introduction of coastal infrastructure as a driver of change in marine environments. J Appl Ecol 47:26–35. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01751.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burton I, Diringer E, Smith J (2006) Adaptation to climate change: international policy options. Advancing the international effort against climate change. Pew Center on Global Climate Change, ArlingtonGoogle Scholar
  14. Costanza R, d’Arge R, de Groot R, Farber S, Grasso M, Hannon B, Limburg K, Naeem S, Oneill RV, Paruelo J, Raskin RG, Sutton P, vanden Belt M (1997) The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387:253–260. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.10.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dale PER, Dale MB, Anorov J, Knight J, Minno MC, Powell B, Raynie RC, Visser JM (2006) Aspects of adaptive management of coastal wetlands: Case studies of processes, conservation, restoration, impacts and assessment. In: Verhoeven JTA, Beltman B, Bobbink R, Whigham DF (eds) Wetlands as a natural resource. Springer, Berlin, pp 197–222Google Scholar
  16. Day JW, Christian RR, Boesch DM, Yanez-Arancibia A, Morris J, Twilley RR, Naylor L, Schaffner L, Stevenson C (2008) Consequences of climate change on the ecogeomorphology of coastal wetlands. Estuaries Coasts 31:477–491. doi:10.1007/s12237-008-9047-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dodman D (2011) Forces driving urban greenhouse gas emissions. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 3:121–125. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2010.12.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dodson J, Buchanan N, Gleeson B, Sipe N (2006) Investigating the social dimensions of transport disadvantage: towards new concepts and methods. Urban Policy Res 24:433–453. doi:10.1080/08111140601035317 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fankhauser S (2010) The costs of adaptation. Interdisciplinary Reviews Climate Change 1:23–30. doi:10.1002/wcc.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fankhauser S, Smith JB, Tol RSJ (1999) Weathering climate change: some simple rules to guide adaptation decisions. Ecol Econ 30:67–78. doi:10.1016/S0921-8009(98)00117-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fenton M, Marshall N (2001) A Guide to the Fisherys of Queensland. Technical report. CRC Reef Research CentreGoogle Scholar
  22. Ford JD (2009) Vulnerability of Inuit food systems to food insecurity as a consequence of climate change: a case study from Igloolik, Nunavut. Reg Envir Chang 9:83–100. doi:10.1007/s10113-008-0060-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ford JD, Pearce T, Prno J, Duerden F, Ford LB, Beaumier M, Smith T (2010) Perceptions of climate change risks in primary resource use industries: a survey of the Canadian mining sector. Reg Envir Chang 10:65–81. doi:10.1007/s10113-009-0094-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gilman EL, Ellison J, Duke NC, Field C (2008) Threats to mangroves from climate change and adaptation options: a review. Aquat Bot 89:237–250. doi:10.1016/j.aquabot.2007.12.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. GoQ (2009) South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009–2031. Government of Queensland, Department of Infrastructure and Planning, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  26. GoQ (2011a) DRAFT climate change adaptation for Queensland: issues paper. Government of Queensland, Department of Environment and Resource Management, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  27. GoQ (2011b) Queensland coastal plan. Government of Queensland, Department of Environment and Resource Management, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  28. GoQ (2011c) Queensland wetland buffer guideline. Government of Queensland, Department of Environment and Resource Management BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  29. Hall JW, Dawson RJ, Barr SL, Batty M, Bristow AL, Carney S, Dagoumas A, Ford A, Harpham C, Tight MR, Walsh CL, Watters H, Zanni AM (2009) City-scale integrated assessment of climate impacts, adaptation and mitigation. Urban Development: Urban Research Symposium, MarseilleGoogle Scholar
  30. Hallegatte S (2009) Strategies to adapt to an uncertain climate change. Glob Environ Change 19:240–247. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2008.12.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hamin E, Gurran N (2009) Urban form and climate change: balancing adaptation and mitigation in the U.S. and Australia. Habitat Int 33:238–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Harman B, Low Choy D (2011) Perspectives on tradeable development rights for ecosystem service protection. J Environ Plan Manag 54:617–635. doi:10.1080/09640568.2010.526405 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hartig EK, Gornitz V, Kolker A, Mushacke F, Fallon D (2002) Anthropogenic and climate-change impacts on salt marshes of Jamaica Bay, New York City. Wetlands 22:71–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hatton MacDonald D, Crossman ND, Mahmoudi P, Taylor LO, Summers DM, Boxall PC (2010) The value of public and private green spaces under water restrictions. Landscape and Urban Planning 95:192–200. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2010.01.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Howden SM, Soussana JF, Tubiello FN, Chhetri N, Dunlop M, Meinke H (2007) Adapting agriculture to climate change. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:19691–19696. doi:10.1073/pnas.0701890104 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Huntjens P, Pahl-Wostl C, Grin J (2010) Climate change adaptation in European river basins. Reg Envir Chang 10:263–284. doi:10.1007/s10113-009-0108-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. IPCC (2007a) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, Linden PJvd, Hanson CE (eds) Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  38. IPCC (2007b) Climate change 2007: Synthesis report. Contribution of working groups I, II and III to the Fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. In: Core Writing T, Pachauri RK, Reisinger A (eds) Intergovernmental panel on climate change, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  39. Jackson AC, McIlvenny J (2011) Coastal squeeze on rocky shores in northern Scotland and some possible ecological impacts. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 400:314–321. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2011.02.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jäger J, Moll P (2011) Adaptation to climate change: tools and methods. Reg Envir Chang 11:1–3. doi:10.1007/s10113-010-0148-y Google Scholar
  41. Klein RJT, Schipper ELF, Dessai S (2005) Integrating mitigation and adaptation into climate and development policy: three research questions. Environ Sci Policy 8:579–588. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2005.06.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Klein RJT, Huq S, Denton F, Downing TE, Richels RG, Robinson JB, Toth FL (2007) Inter-relationships between adaptation and mitigation. Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. In: M.L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden, C. E. Hanson (eds). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  43. Kok MTJ, Coninck HC (2007) Widening the scope of policies to address climate change. Environ Sci Policy 10:587–599. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2007.07.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Leitch A, Harman B, Lane MB (2010) From blueprint to footprint: Climate change and the challenge for planning In: Bonyhady T, Macintosh A, McDonald J (eds) Adaptation to climate change: law and policy. The Federation Press, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  45. Lim B, Spanger-Siegfried E (eds) (2004) Adaptation policy frameworks for climate change: developing strategies, policies and measures. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  46. Lovelock CE, Ellison JC (2007) Vulnerability of mangroves and tidal wetlands of the Great Barrier Reef to climate change. Climate change and the great barrier reef: a vulnerability assessment. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Australian Greenhouse Office, Australia, pp. 237–269Google Scholar
  47. Manson FJ, Loneragan NR, Harch BD, Skilleter GA, Williams L (2005) A broad-scale analysis of links between coastal fisheries production and mangrove extent: A case-study for northeastern Australia. Fish Res 74:69–85. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2005.04.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McManus P (2006) Mangrove battlelines: culture/nature and ecological restoration. Aust Geogr 37:57–71. doi:10.1080/00049180500511970 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Meynecke JO, Lee SY, Duke NC (2008) Linking spatial metrics and fish catch reveals the importance of coastal wetland connectivity to inshore fisheries in Queensland, Australia. Biol Conserv 141:981–996. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2008.01.018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mickwitz P, Aix F, Beck S, Carss D, Ferrand N, Gorg C, Jensen A, Kivimaa P, Kuhlicke C, Kuindersma W, Manez M, Melanen M, Monni S, Pedersen AB, Reinert H, Bommel Sv (2009) Climate policy integration, coherence and governance. PEER Report no. 2. Partnership for European Environmental Research, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  51. Nelson DR, Adger WN, Brown K (2007) Adaptation to environmental change: Contributions of a resilience framework. Annu Rev Environ Resour 32:395–419. doi:10.1146/ CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Oba G (2001) The importance of pastoralists’ indigenous coping strategies for planning drought management in the arid zone of Kenya. Nomadic Peoples 5:89–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Parry M (2009) Closing the loop between mitigation, impacts and adaptation. Climatic Change 96:23–27. doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9646-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Patwardhan A, Downing T, Leary N, Wilbanks T (2009) Towards an integrated agenda for adaptation research: theory, practice and policy: strategy paper. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 1:219–225. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.10.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rambaldi AN, Fletcher CS, Collins K, McAllister RRJ (2011a) Housing shadow prices in an inundation prone suburb. School of Economics Discussion Papers Series 429. University of Queensland, Brisbane. Available at:
  56. Rambaldi AN, McAllister RRJ, Collins K, Fletcher CS (2011b) Separating land from structure prices: hedonic imputed prices for Brisbane Australia. School of Economics Discussion Papers Series: 428. The University of Queensland, Brisbane. Available at:
  57. Russell RC (2009) Mosquito-borne disease and climate change in Australia: time for a reality check. Aust J Entomol 48:1–7. doi:10.1111/j.1440-6055.2008.00677.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Saintilan N, Williams RJ (1999) Mangrove transgression into saltmarsh environments in south-east Australia. Global Ecol Biogeogr 8:117–123. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2699.1999.00133.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Schmidt CW (2009) Beyond mitigation planning for climate change adaptation. Environ Health Perspect 117:a306–a309Google Scholar
  60. Silliman BR, van de Koppel J, Bertness MD, Stanton LE, Mendelssohn IA (2005) Drought, snails, and large-scale die-off of southern US salt marshes. Science 310:1803–1806. doi:10.1126/science.1118229 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stafford Smith DM, Horrocks L, Harvey A, Hamilton C (2011) Rethinking adaptation for a 4 degrees C world. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 369:196–216. doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0277 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Taylor BM, Harman B, Heyenga S, McAllister RRJ (in press) The property development industry and urban adaptation: empirical and conceptual perspectives on governance. Urban Policy Res doi:10.1080/08111146.2011.639178
  63. Tol RSJ, Klein RJT, Nicholls RJ (2008) Towards successful adaptation to sea-level rise along Europe’s coasts. J Coast Res 24:432–442. doi:10.2112/07a-0016.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Traill LW, Perhans K, Lovelock CE, Prohaska A, Rhodes JR, Wilson KA (2011) Managing for global change: wetland transitions under sea level rise and outcomes for threatened species. Divers and Distrib 17:1225–1233Google Scholar
  65. Urwin K, Jordan A (2008) Does public policy support or undermine climate change adaptation? Exploring policy interplay across different scales of governance. Glob Environ Change 18:180–191. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2007.08.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wilbanks TJ (2005) Issues in developing a capacity for integrated analysis of mitigation and adaptation. Environ Sci Policy 8:541–547. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2005.06.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Willott E (2004) Restoring nature, with mosquitoes? Restor Ecol 12:147–153. doi:10.1111/j.1061-2971.2004.00392.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zedler JB (2000) Progress in wetland restoration ecology. Trends Ecol Evol 15:402–407. doi:10.1016/s0169-5347(00)01959-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer G. Burley
    • 1
  • Ryan R. J. McAllister
    • 1
  • Kerry A. Collins
    • 1
  • Catherine E. Lovelock
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIRO Ecosystem SciencesBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

Personalised recommendations