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Adaptation to climate change as social–ecological trap: a case study of fishing and aquaculture in the Tam Giang Lagoon, Vietnam.
11/04/19 08:06AM
WiebrenJ Boonstra and TongThiHai Hanh. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 2014, pp. 1-18.
Abstract: The ways in which people respond to climate change are frequently analyzed and explained with the term “adaptation.” Conventionally, adaptation is understood as adjustments in behavior either to mitigate harm or to exploit opportunities emerging from climate change. The idea features prominently in scientific analyses as well as in policy programs. Despite its growing popularity over the years, the concept has also received critique. Social scientists in particular take issue with the implicit assumptions about human behavior and “fitness advantages” (or optimal behavior) that come with the term. Clearly, not all human and animal behavioral responses are “optimal” or display “fitness advantages.” To the contrary, sub-optimal and maladaptive behavior is rather widespread. Explaining the possibility of maladaptive or sub-optimal behavior led scholars to introduce the idea of “traps.” Trap situations refer to a mismatch between behavior and the social and/or ecological conditions in which this behavior takes place. This paper reviews the analytical value of traps for the study of human responses to climate change. It first lays out the theoretical assumptions underpinning the concept. A case study of the Tam Giang Lagoon, in central Vietnam, is used to evaluate how well the trap concept captures the sub-optimality and variety of human responses to climate change. [spr].
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