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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning ...

3.0 Conducting a

3.0 Conducting a Vulnerability Assessment3.10 Overview of resource requirements for thevulnerability assessmentSection 3 has described eight components of datagathering for a mangrove vulnerability assessment,following an initial review of existing information.Table 24 summarizes these components as ratedin terms of the scale of expertise and technologyrequired, time needed to do the work, cost and relativecontribution to the VA synthesis, as will be discussedin Section 4. These ratings come from the summariesat the beginning of each subsection in Section 3. Thecost factor is dependent on the size of the mangrovearea and the logistics of fieldwork there.The final column on the relative contribution of eachcomponent to the overall vulnerability assessmentallows prioritization by those planning to go aheadwith a VA. Those components most critical to aVA are forest assessment by permanent plotsand analysis of recent spatial change, relativesea level trends and sedimentation rates.Component Approach Expertise/TechnologyneededInitial review of existinginformationForest assessment ofmangrovesTime taken Cost Contributionto VADesktop 2 2 1 4RapidPlotsLitterRecent spatial changes GIS 5 3 3 5Ground surface elevationsdGPSWater levelRelative sea level trends Tide gauge data 5Sedimentation rates undermangrovesAdjacent ecosystem resilienceStratigraphy/ pollen analysisTablesStratigraphyStakesCoral reefsSea grassClimate (rainfall) modeling 7 Available projections 3 2 1 2Local community knowledge Workshops and questionnaires 2 2 3 5Table 24. Relative comparison of the different VA components. Note that cost is scale-dependent upon the size of themangrove forest. Key to scales: 1–Low; 2–Some; 3–Moderate; 4–Rather high; 5–High23352345424234522243224223–435214542424524453–5 6543335 Refers just to use of the data from and not the setup andmaintenance of a tide gauge or climate model – which arehigh-technology and expensive, and need lengthy data sets.6 Some sites can be difficult to interpret; others are very clear.7 See footnote 5.78 | Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Mangrove Systems

4.0 Interpreting a Vulnerability AssessmentThis section explains how to combine results fromsome or all of the eight components described inSection 3 to obtain an overall vulnerability assessmentfor a given mangrove area. The information mustbe synthesized to identify levels of resilience orvulnerability. From this synthesis, appropriateadaptation actions, which are described in Section 5,can be identified and prioritized.Vulnerability is a function of exposure, sensitivity andadaptive capacity (Figure 4). The reduction of exposureand sensitivity also contributes to greater adaptivecapacity. The eight components outlined in Section3 allow the assessment of sensitivity, exposure andadaptive capacity for a given mangrove area. Note thatimpact identification indicates any sensitivity to date.Vulnerability is not an absolute quantitativecharacteristic. It is a relative, non-measurable,dimensionless property (Stigter et al., 2006).Vulnerability of ecosystems to individual threats hasbeen ranked for a number of ecosystems throughsurveys of relevant experts (Halpern et al., 2007;Halpern et al., 2008; Selcoe et al., 2009; Teck et al.,2010; Fuentes et al., 2011; Grech et al., 2011). Theseonline surveys were sometimes impressionistic.For example, the risk of exposure of turtle breedinggrounds in Queensland, Australia, to sea level risewas ranked as “never occurs/occasionally/often orconstant” by sea turtle experts (Fuentes et al., 2011),though the survey did not refer to specific sea levelchange or tide gauge data.Such online surveys of expert opinion do notpractically suit a site-based vulnerability assessment,where risk assessment data are used to guide onthe-groundplanning and management. A riskranking system, however, could identify aspectsof the mangrove forest system most susceptible todisturbance under a changing climate (Dale et al.,2001).4.1 Ranking the resultsGuidance is given throughout Section 3 on how torank the results from each VA component using afive-point scale. The “How to analyze results” and“How to interpret vulnerability” subsections undereach component can be used to determine a rank scorethat goes into the last column (S = score). In somecases, that number comes directly from the assessmentmethod; for instance, in the mangrove conditionassessment, the scores are determined using Table 6.To obtain an overall mangrove vulnerabilityassessment ranking, the scores assigned for each ofthe eight components in Section 3 should be collatedinto a single table, as shown in Table 25. The table isdivided into exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacityfactors. Tidal range, relative sea level trends, sedimentsupply rates and precipitation change are all exposurefactors, while sensitivity factors include the majority ofmeasured factors, such as forest condition and growth.Availability of migration areas inland from mangroves,community management capacity and degree ofstakeholder involvement in mangrove management areadaptive capacity factors.To obtain the overall score for a given site, add up thescores recorded in the final S column and fill in thetotal at the bottom of the table. Then divide by thenumber of completed components of the VA (e.g., thenumber of rows that were filled in). Some studies willnot be able to complete all components of the VA, dueto limited budgets or other factors – for example, amangrove site may not have adjacent coral reefs or seagrass.Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Mangrove Systems | 79

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