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A spatially explicit, indicator-based methodology for quantifying the vulnerability and adaptability of natural ecosystems

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Dukát Z & Kröel-Dulay Gy (2009): A spatially explicit, indicator-based methodology for quantifying the vulnerability and adaptability of natural ecosystems. In: Filho WL, Mannke F (eds): Interdisciplinary Aspects of Climate Change. Peter Lang Scientific Publishers, Frankfurt, pp. 209-227. Abstract Ecosystems contribute inconspicuously, yet fundamentally, to human well-being by supplying vital goods and services, including genetic resources, habitat maintenance and climate and runoff regulation. The combined effects of climate change and other global change drivers may impose dramatic impacts on species and ecosystems worldwide, with potentially detrimental consequences on human society. In this chapter we present a vulnerability assessment for the natural and semi-natural ecosystems of Hungary, calculating the local exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of different habitat types. Exposure was calculated using six different global climate model (GCM) outputs comprising of four different models and three emission scenarios, providing a cross-section of the climatic and socio-economic uncertainties within the projections. To estimate the sensitivity of habitats, four types of climate sensitivity were identified and estimated either quantitatively or semi-quantitatively. Adaptive capacity of habitat occurrences was assessed using landscape ecological evaluation of the quality and distribution of habitat patches. Three potential indicators of adaptive capacity were identified, describing (1) the potential resilience of the individual habitat patches, (2) the local refuge-providing ability of the landscape, and (3) the connectivity and permeability of the landscape. By combining results of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity, climatic vulnerability maps of natural ecosystems were produced. This case study, prepared for the Hungarian National Climate Change Strategy, provides the first example of a methodology to give quantitative estimation of the potential climatic vulnerability and adaptive capacity of ecosystems based on a detailed habitat database.
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... An indicator represents a characteristic or a parameter of a system (Cutter et al., 2008) and it is an empirical, observable measure of a concept (Siniscalco and Auriat, 2005, p. 7). The composite index approach can help to identify indicators or determinants for targeting interventions and programmes (Eakin and Bojórquez-Tapia, 2008;Czúcz et al., 2009). ...
Thesis
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Climate variability and change are predicted to impact on coastal and marine smallscale fisheries and dependent communities. They have been adapted to the normal range of climate variability and its impacts, but additional adaptation will be required to address the increased impacts of climate change. Migration is regarded as one strategy to adapt to these impacts but debates surround its successfulness. Fishing communities can adapt in many ways and migration is one example. However, limits and barriers can prevent adaptation from being successful or reduce vulnerability. Studies on vulnerability, adaptation and limits and barriers to adaptation are therefore preconditions for the fishing communities to develop effective adaptation strategies to face climate variability and change. Despite considerable studies on the impact of climate change on aquatic ecosystems and fish stocks, the macro scale fishery-dependent economies and their people, and on vulnerability and adaptation in agricultural communities, there has been insufficient examination of the vulnerability and adaptation of small-scale fishing communities to climate variability and change. This thesis, therefore, assesses the vulnerability and adaptation to the impacts of climate variability and change, in three small-scale coastal fishing communities in Bangladesh. Using a mixed-method approach, particular focus is given to the assessment of livelihood vulnerability, the investigation of the outcomes of climate-induced migration, and the exploration of limits of and barriers to adaptation. Results highlight that the level of livelihood vulnerability not only differs between communities but also between different household groups within a community, depending on their level of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Exposure to floods and cyclones; sensitivity (such as dependence on small-scale marine fisheries for livelihoods); and lack of adaptive capacity in terms of physical, natural and financial capital and diverse livelihood strategies construe livelihood vulnerability in different ways depending on the context. Results show that the most exposed community is not necessarily the most sensitive or least able to adapt because livelihood vulnerability is a result of combined but unequal influences of biophysical and socio-economic characteristics of communities and households. Within a fishing community, where households are similarly exposed, higher sensitivity and lower adaptive capacity combine to create higher vulnerability. Migration may be a viable strategy to respond to climate variability and change. Results show that migration has generated several positive outcomes for households that resettled. The resettled households are now less exposed to floods, sea-level rise and land erosion than those who stayed behind. They have also more livelihood assets and better access to them. They enjoy higher incomes, better health, better access to water supply, health and educational services, technology and markets than the households who remained in their original settlement. The thesis also establishes that fishing communities face multiple limits and barriers to adaptation of fishing activities to cyclones, however. Limits include physical characteristics of climate and sea, such as higher frequency and duration of cyclones, and hidden sandbars. Barriers include technologically poor boats, inaccurate weather forecasts, poor radio signals, lack of access to credit, low incomes, underestimation of cyclone occurrence, coercion of fishermen by the boat owners and captains, lack of education, skills and livelihood alternatives, unfavourable credit schemes, lack of enforcement of fishing regulations and maritime laws, and lack of access to fish markets. These local and wider scale factors interact in complex ways and constrain completion of fishing trips, coping with cyclones at sea, the safe return of boats from sea, timely responses to cyclones and livelihood diversification. Overall, this thesis contributes empirical evidence to current debates in the literature on climate change by enhancing an understanding of the characteristics and determinants of livelihood vulnerability, migration as an adaptation strategy and limits and barriers to the adaptation of fishing communities to climate variability and change. The findings of this thesis form the basis for further detailed research into the vulnerability and adaptation of small-scale fishing communities to climate variability and change. Based on the above findings, this thesis also provides some suggestions for reducing vulnerability and for developing effective adaptation strategies.
... This method computes a vulnerability index by aggregating data for a set of indicators. It helps identify indicators or determinants for targeting interventions and programmes (Czúcz, Torda, Molnár, Horváth, & Botta-Dukát, 2009;Eakin & Bojórquez-Tapia, 2008). Each indicator was normalized (rescaled from 0 to 1): ...
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To identify the indicators of adaptive capacity that determine vulnerability of households, an intensive investigation was conducted in farming communities at two locations in the Asian highlands. Livelihood vulnerability was assessed, classified to four categories and regressed against current adaptive capacity using logistic regression. Household head’s education, irrigated land, non-agricultural income, and technologies used were associated with adaptive capacity. The strengthening of human, natural and financial capital is identified as the best means of managing risk in farming communities in this mountainous region.
... In our case, the objects include both natural and semi-natural ecosystems (habitat types). They have several relevant physical and biological properties determining their sensitivity, as well as adaptive capacity, which dependencies enable us to explore the climatic vulnerability of ecosystems using a modeling approach (Czúcz et al., 2009(Czúcz et al., , 2011a. Elements of climate change impact, adaptation and vulnerability (CCIAV) concept are shadowed, initial letters used hereinafter as abbreviations are typed bold, and equations/sources of calculation of sensitivity, potential impact, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability are also marked. ...
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Climate change is expected to exert considerable influence on natural ecosystems all over the world, though not all ecosystems are equally vulnerable to the changes. In this paper, an assessment framework of vulnerability of natural habitats to future climate change is presented, examining Hungary, Central Eastern Europe as a case study. A climate change impact, adaptation and vulnerability (CCIAV) assessment following IPCC traditions was applied, which operationalizes the concepts of exposure, sensitivity, potential impact, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability for natural ecosystems. Potential impact was quantified for the periods 2021–2050 and 2071–2100 based on regional climate models ALADIN-Climate and RegCM. Although the potential impact of future climate change was predominantly negative on the most climate sensitive forested habitat types of Hungary, for some of the grassland types we experienced positive predicted responses. Loess steppes and annual saline vegetation may thus partially benefit from climate change. The most climate vulnerable Hungarian regions are the Transdanubia (West Hungary) and the Northern Mountains (North Hungary) in terms of natural vegetation.
... We may provide only crude estimates on the effects of expected climate change on forest-steppe habitats (Czúcz et al. 2009(Czúcz et al. , 2010. It is likely that increasing aridity will facilitate transformation of habitats, spread of invasive species, changes in land use, and will affect the level of under-or overutilization (Fekete and Varga 2006). ...
Chapter
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Chapter 3 summary All maps of vegetation or habitats are based on a system of classification. For vegetation, this has usually been based on phytosociological synsystems, while classifications of habitats, being more recent, have been produced at national, regional and international levels (e.g. Czech biotopes, Nordic vegetation types and Corine biotopes). This chapter discusses the classification systems in use for mapping vegetation and habitats in different countries, and also the work towards harmonisation at European scale. It introduces the EUNIS habitat classification, proposed as a European standard under the EU INSPIRE Directive (Directive 2007/2/EC), and its crosswalks to and from other typologies. Finally, it presents the habitat typologies used for monitoring, statistical and distribution modelling approaches as developed by the BioHab and EBONE projects.
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All maps of vegetation or habitats are based on a system of classification. For vegetation, this has usually been based on phytosociological synsystems, while classifications of habitats, being more recent, have been produced at national, regional and international levels (e.g. Czech biotopes, Nordic vegetation types and Corine biotopes). This chapter discusses the classification systems in use for mapping vegetation and habitats in different countries, and also the work towards harmonisation at European scale. It introduces the EUNIS habitat classification, proposed as a European standard under the EU INSPIRE Directive (Directive 2007/2/EC), and its crosswalks to and from other typologies. Finally, it presents the habitat typologies used for monitoring, statistical and distribution modelling approaches as developed by the BioHab and EBONE projects.
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