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Interactions between ecosystem management and people's vulnerability to climate variations in two Indonesian forest landscapes

Fedele G., Locatelli B., Djoudi H.. 2015. In : PECS 2015 conference: social-ecological dynamics in the antropocene. Book of abstracts. Stellenbosch : PECS, p. 23. PECS 2015 Conference, 2015-11-03/2015-11-05, Stellenbosch (Afrique du Sud).

The effects of climate change have already been felt in many parts of the world and are expected to increase over the next decades, affecting sources of revenue and exacerbating poverty. In times of extreme climatic events, the literature has often indicated that forests play an important role as livelihood safety nets and natural buffers. However, it remains unclear how land-use changes affect people's vulnerability and how climate variability influences peoples decisions regarding land use, especially in forested rural areas. We examined social-ecological systems' interactions and dynamics in two smallholder dominated rural landscapes in Indonesia affected by multiple climate-related stresses, such as floods, drought and disease outbreaks. These interact ions were analysed through mixed quantitative and qualitative participatory approaches, including 28 focus group discussions, 256 household surveys, and 120 forest inventories. To assess land-use changes, we analysed historical and future trends combining geospatial information with people's perceptions and visions. The findings suggest that communities' recognition of changes in environmental conditions, climate variability and their linkages encourage active management of natural resources and ecosystems to address climate - related hazards. In particular, because of the perceived role of forests and trees in watershed regulation and erosion prevention, people started maintaining or enhancing the vegetation cover in strategic places, such as hilltops, near cultivated areas or along rivers. In addition, people's previous exposure to climatic stresses and resource scarcity seem to increase the adoption of land-based solutions. Although climate considerations only partially influenced land-use changes undertaken by communities, they helped to determine how current land uses are managed, which in turn have a great potential to affect climatic risks. Other external factors included technological improvement and market prices, whereas internal factors were presence of alternative opportunities and land accessibility. An improved understanding of the linkages and trade-offs between land uses and people's vulnerabilities and their changes over time, can inform the design of appropriate ecosystem-based interventions that contribute to a sustainable resilient development.

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