Skip to main content

Exploring Vulnerability in the Yaqui Valley Human-Environment System

  • Chapter


The vulnerability of people and places has emerged in the past decade as a central concern related to climate change (IPCC 2001; IHDP 2001) and a key question in the emerging field of sustainability science (see Clark et al. 2000; Kates et al. 2001; Turner, Kasperson, et al. 2003; Turner, Matson, et al. 2003; Eakin and Luers 2006). As it becomes increasingly clear that not everyone or every place is equally vulnerable to the rising frequency of environmental stresses, such as floods and drought resulting from climate change, or to major price shocks and policy changes, researchers and practitioners are seeking to understand what makes some places more vulnerable than others. What can be done to reduce the likelihood of harm for the most vulnerable? How can more resilient and adaptive communities and ecosystems be built or managed?


  • Wheat Yield
  • Natural Capital
  • Sustainability Science
  • Irrigation District
  • Million Cubic Meter

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Figure 6.1
Figure 6.2


  • Adger WN, Eakin H, Winkels A (2009b) Nested and Teleconnected Vulnerabilities to Environmental Change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(3):150–57

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Clark, W, J. Jager, R. Corell, J. X. Kasperson, J. J. McCarthy, D. Cash, S. J. Cohen, et al. 2000. “Assessing Vulnerability to Global Environmental Risks.” Global Environmental Assessment (GEA) Working Paper.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eakin H, Luers AL (2006) Assessing the Vulnerability of Social-Environmental Systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 31:365–94

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kaly U, Pratt C, Howarth R (2002) A Framework for Managing Environmental Vulnerability in Small Island Developing States. Development Bulletin 58:33–38

    Google Scholar 

  • Kates R, Clark W, Corell R, Hall J, Jaeger C, Lowe I, McCarthy J et al (2001) Environment and Development: Sustainability Science. Science 292(5517):641–42

    CrossRef  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lemos, M. C., and E. L. Tompkins. 2008. “Creating Less Disastrous Disasters.” IDS (Institute of Development Studies) Bulletin 39(4): 60.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lewis J (2002) Agrarian Change and Privatization of Ejido Land in Northern Mexico. Journal of Agrarian Change 2(3):402–20

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Lobell DB, Asner GP (2003) Comparison of Earth Observing-1 ALI and Landsat ETM+ for Crop Identification and Yield Prediction in Mexico. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 41(6):1277–82

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Lobell DB, Burke MB, Tebaldi C, Mastrandrea MD, Falcon WP, Naylor RL (2008) Prioritizing Climate Change Adaptation Needs for Food Security in 2030. Science 319(5863):607–10

    CrossRef  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Luers A, Lobell DB, Sklar LS, Addams CL, Matson PA (2003) A Method for Quantifying Vulnerability, Applied to the Agricultural System of the Yaqui Valley, Mexico. Global Environmental Change 13:255–67

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Moser, S. 2009. “Whether Our Levers are Long Enough and the Fulcrum Strong? Exploring the Soft Underbelly of Adaptation Decisions and Actions.” In Adapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance, W N. Adger, I. Lorenzoni, and K. L. O’;Brien, eds., 313–34. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moser S, Kasperson R, Yohe G, Agyeman J (2008) Adaptation to Climate Change in the Northeastern United States: Opportunities, Processes, Constraints. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 13(5):643–59

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Moss, R. H., E. L. Malone, and A. L. Brenkert. 2002. Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Quantitative Approach. Prepared for the US Department of Energy.

Download references


We thank Bill Turner, Bill Clark, Robert Corell, Lindsey Christensen, Noelle Eckley, Grete Hovelsrud-Broda, Jeanne Kasperson, Roger Kasperson, Marybeth Martello, Svein Mathiesen, Rosamond Naylor, Colin Polsky, Alexander Pulsipher, Andrew Schiller, Henrik Selin, and Nicholas Tyler for their assistance in the development, analysis, and interpretation of this work in the context of our broader vulnerability research. Ivan Ortiz-Monasterio was there for every part of the work. This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant BCS-0004236, with contributions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Global Programs for the Research and Assessment Systems for Sustainability Program ( It builds on collaborations sponsored by the Stockholm Environment Institute with Clark University, the Consortium for Social Science Associations, the International Human Dimensions Program, and the Land-Use/Cover Change Focus 1 Office at Indiana University.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2012 Island Press

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Matson, P., Luers, A., McCullough, E. (2012). Exploring Vulnerability in the Yaqui Valley Human-Environment System. In: Matson, P.A. (eds) Seeds of Sustainability. Island Press/Center for Resource Economics.

Download citation