First- and second-order adaptation to natural hazards and extreme events in the context of climate change

Abstract

This paper deals with coping and adaptation processes to natural hazards and (potential) climate change impacts. Selected response measures to natural hazards are critically reviewed with respect to the actual and potential consequences that these measures might imply for additional adaptation needs and changes within social-ecological systems. In this context, the author introduces the concept of first- and second-order adaptation processes in order to underline the cascade process that adaptation implies, the potentials for failure, and the limits of adaptation. Important aspects of first- and second-order adaptation processes as well as the issue of the limits of adaptation are illustrated based on observations and empirical work conducted in Vietnam. In its final part, the paper discusses the findings in light of selected theoretical approaches that might help to understand how stabilization and destabilization processes are influenced or even triggered by adaptation measures.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The FGD—conducted in September 2008–mainly encompassed eight steps—particularly regarding the discussion with local farmers. Firstly, the method of an FGD and its goals was presented; secondly, a timeline of major events was developed with the participants, and thereafter a risk hierarchy and hazard mapping was conducted. In a fourth step, the impacts and consequences of major hazard events were discussed, followed by the compilation of coping mechanisms and actions for the case of floods. Additionally, adaptive actions were discussed in contrast to short-term coping. Thereafter, these adaptation measures listed were evaluated and brought into a hierarchy.

  2. 2.

    However, during the FGD none of the observers from the Local People’s Committee (governmental body) attempted to restrict any comments or critical remarks expressed by the participants/farmers during the meeting.

  3. 3.

    The semi-protected dykes are just preventing floods in August, thus the first floods of the flooding season. These dykes do not deter high floods from causing major losses on residential areas. Fully protected dykes protect a whole area mainly to include sheltering the agricultural production inside the dyke system. Residential dykes are just a variety of those dykes also used for housing. Many local roads are built on these dykes and houses have been constructed along their left and right-hand sides. Therefore, they are classified as residential dykes.

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Birkmann, J. First- and second-order adaptation to natural hazards and extreme events in the context of climate change. Nat Hazards 58, 811–840 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-011-9806-8

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Keywords

  • Risk management
  • Adaptation
  • Extreme events
  • Vulnerability
  • Relocation