Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 881–891 | Cite as

Integrating social–ecological vulnerability assessments with climate forecasts to improve local climate adaptation planning for coral reef fisheries in Papua New Guinea

  • Joseph MainaEmail author
  • Justus Kithiia
  • Josh Cinner
  • Ezra Neale
  • Sylvia Noble
  • Daniel Charles
  • James E.M. Watson
Original Article


A major gap exists in integrating climate projections and social–ecological vulnerability analyses at scales that matter, which has affected local-scale adaptation planning and actions to date. We address this gap by providing a novel methodology that integrates information on: (i) the expected future climate, including climate-related extreme events, at the village level; (ii) an ecological assessment of the impacts of these climate forecasts on coral reefs; and (iii) the social adaptive capacity of the artisanal fishers, to create an integrated vulnerability assessment on coastal communities in five villages in Papua New Guinea. We show that, despite relatively proximate geographies, there are substantial differences in both the predicted extreme rainfall and temperature events and the social adaptive capacity among the five fishing-dependent communities, meaning that they have likely different vulnerabilities to future climate change. Our methodology shows that it is possible to capture social information and integrate this with climate and ecological modeling in ways that are best suited to address the impacts of climate-mediated environmental changes currently underway across different scales.


Climate change Adaptation planning Socioecological vulnerability Coral reef fisheries Papua New Guinea 



We thank AUSAID and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur and Tiffany Foundation for supporting this work through WCS. Ross Sinclair, the former director of the WCS PNG program, recognized the need for this type of science, and we also thank the WCS-PNG field assistant’s for their help with the social surveys.

Supplementary material

10113_2015_807_MOESM1_ESM.docx (104 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 103 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Maina
    • 1
    Email author
  • Justus Kithiia
    • 3
  • Josh Cinner
    • 4
  • Ezra Neale
    • 5
  • Sylvia Noble
    • 5
  • Daniel Charles
    • 5
  • James E.M. Watson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (ARC CEED)University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Global Conservation ProgramWildlife Conservation SocietyBronxUSA
  3. 3.Center for Rainforest StudiesThe School of Field StudiesYungabburaAustralia
  4. 4.Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  5. 5.PNG Field ProgramWildlife Conservation SocietyPapuaNew Guinea
  6. 6.School of Geography, Planning and Environmental ManagementUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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