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25.1 Adaptation to climate change in rural regions

Thursday, June 29, 2023
11:00 - 12:30


Juan Fernando Mendoza Ledezma
University Of Hamburg

Linking community capital approach to climate change adaptation strategies: A participatory analysis of three post-conflict rural communities in Cauca, Colombia.


The future of rural areas is compromised, significantly affecting small producers in developing countries. Therefore, in the context of projected adaptation in the search for sustainable rural areas with low levels of vulnerability to climate change, this research considers the value of local perceptions from a participatory qualitative approach, applying the commons framework of community capitals, as a means to understand the "inner workings" of the rural place, combined with fundamental human needs and vulnerability analysis, where farmers' decisions to adopt improved practices to mitigate/reduce climate change impacts contribute to the protection of their livelihoods and livelihood strategies. The results argue that community capitals (common resources) enable the creation of sustainable and effective climate change adaptation strategies based on basic human needs and that this adaptive process is a management practice to reduce vulnerability levels associated with climate change, understanding rural dynamics concerning rural livelihoods and community development in a post-conflict context and exposure to the climate change, which could serve as a bridge between the implementation of rural development policies, projects and programs.
Dr. Ondřej Konečný
Vice-dean For Research And Development
Mendel University

Villages and farmers: a beneficial relationship reducing the impacts of climate change?


The aim of the paper is to reveal the dimension and quality of the relationship between farmers and rural communities. Since rural municipalities in the Czech Republic own a considerable amount of agricultural land but are not willing to farm it themselves, the level of cooperation between them and farmers seems to be very important. The question is whether the municipalities are aware that farming can be a tool for reducing the impacts of climate change in the locality and whether they subsequently apply this awareness in cooperation with local farmers, primarily by leasing land to farmers. Research answering these objectives and questions using interviews with municipal representatives and focus groups with farmers was conducted in three model areas of the Czech Republic with different conditions for agriculture. The results showed that appropriate cooperation between the village and farmer can achieve positive impacts on the landscape through the implementation of adaptation measures and other elements. At the same time, however, most villages perceived cooperation as a kind of a given and did not think of land leasing as a tool to enable changes in the landscape. Farmers, however, perceived the village as a key partner with the right to set the terms of the lease.
Dennis Fila
Institute for Environmental Social Sciences and Geography
University of Freiburg

Transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives to Climate Change Adaptation in Small and Medium-Sized Municipalities in Germany


Abstract: With limited stocks of capacities resulting from the size of municipal governments, structural barriers such as financial and personnel resources or knowledge about climate change impacts are particularly present in small and medium-sized municipalities (SMM). From a scientific perspective, one of the questions of interest is how climate change adaptation processes take place in the special socio-spatial contexts of municipalities primarily located in rural areas and how existing barriers to effective adaptation outcomes can be overcome through the mobilization of collective capacities and the provision of information. These issues may be addressed through different epistemological and methodological lenses, each has their own advantages, pitfalls and implications.
We approach these questions from both natural and social science perspectives, using the German state of Baden-Württemberg as an example. At first, we apply data-driven assessments of climate change related impacts and the communication of such to diverse stakeholders. Building on that, we examine the embeddedness of adaptation processes of SMM in the institutional context of the cases, and additionally the role of power structures and exercise of power play in this context as well as in the development of policy measures. We therefore conceptualize the idea of reflexive capacities as an addition to the adaptive capacity discourse. We argue that applying multi-perspective research helps deepen the understanding of SMM’s adaptation contexts in contrast to urban areas.

Addressed questions of the call: All
Jan Zumoberhaus
PhD-student, Departement of Geosciences
University of Fribourg

Conserving a dynamic system: Perceptions and practices of climate change adaptions in forests


Climate change has become a threat to the current state of forests. Although future prospects are still uncertain, an actively promoted transition to climate-adapted forests is already being pursued. This paper focuses on the case of Valais, an inner alpine valley in the Swiss Alps with a particularly mild and dry climate. Here, a large part of the forests fulfils a protective function and is therefore strongly in the focus of climate adaptation measures. However, opinions differ on the extent and type of interventions in forest structure.
Based on semi-structured interviews, this paper examines foresters' perceptions and approaches to this issue. In particular, it analyses how the relationship between knowledge about nature and the materiality of nature itself is redefined in this context. In doing so, it is shown that not only the dynamic relationship between future climate conditions and the natural adaptive capacity of forests, but also socio-political ambiguities regarding biodiversity conservation, the use of non-native tree species and past forest management influence knowledge production and consequently the practical implementation of adaptation strategies. In sum, it is argued that the comprehension and conservation of dynamic systems (such as forests under climate change) must incorporate not only the dynamics of material nature itself, but also the dynamic social conditions of its understanding and transformation.

Session host

Marco Pütz
Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL

Susann Schaefer
Research Associate
University of Jena



Contact for questions about abstracts or registration: groningen@congressbydesign.com 

Contact for questions about the content of the programme: ruralgeo2023@rug.nl