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What actually confers adaptive capacity? Insights from agro-climatic vulnerability of Australian wheat

Bryan, Brett A., Huai, Jianjun, Connor, Jeff, Gao, Lei, King, Darran, Kandulu, John and Zhao, Gang 2015, What actually confers adaptive capacity? Insights from agro-climatic vulnerability of Australian wheat, PloS one, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 1-20, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117600.

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Title What actually confers adaptive capacity? Insights from agro-climatic vulnerability of Australian wheat
Author(s) Bryan, Brett A.ORCID iD for Bryan, Brett A. orcid.org/0000-0003-4834-5641
Huai, Jianjun
Connor, Jeff
Gao, Lei
King, Darran
Kandulu, John
Zhao, Gang
Journal name PloS one
Volume number 10
Issue number 2
Article ID e0117600
Start page 1
End page 20
Total pages 20
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2015-02-10
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) Agriculture
Animals
Australia
Climate Change
Crops, Agricultural
Sheep
Surveys and Questionnaires
Triticum
Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
RURAL LIVELIHOOD DIVERSIFICATION
CLIMATE-CHANGE
EMPIRICAL-ANALYSIS
SPATIAL-ANALYSIS
SOUTH-AUSTRALIA
LARGE-SCALE
SYSTEMS
DROUGHT
MODEL
VARIABILITY
Summary Vulnerability assessments have often invoked sustainable livelihoods theory to support the quantification of adaptive capacity based on the availability of capital--social, human, physical, natural, and financial. However, the assumption that increased availability of these capitals confers greater adaptive capacity remains largely untested. We quantified the relationship between commonly used capital indicators and an empirical index of adaptive capacity (ACI) in the context of vulnerability of Australian wheat production to climate variability and change. We calculated ACI by comparing actual yields from farm survey data to climate-driven expected yields estimated by a crop model for 12 regions in Australia's wheat-sheep zone from 1991-2010. We then compiled data for 24 typical indicators used in vulnerability analyses, spanning the five capitals. We analyzed the ACI and used regression techniques to identify related capital indicators. Between regions, mean ACI was not significantly different but variance over time was. ACI was higher in dry years and lower in wet years suggesting that farm adaptive strategies are geared towards mitigating losses rather than capitalizing on opportunity. Only six of the 24 capital indicators were significantly related to adaptive capacity in a way predicted by theory. Another four indicators were significantly related to adaptive capacity but of the opposite sign, countering our theory-driven expectation. We conclude that the deductive, theory-based use of capitals to define adaptive capacity and vulnerability should be more circumspect. Assessments need to be more evidence-based, first testing the relevance and influence of capital metrics on adaptive capacity for the specific system of interest. This will more effectively direct policy and targeting of investment to mitigate agro-climatic vulnerability.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0117600
Field of Research 070103 Agricultural Production Systems Simulation
070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
MD Multidisciplinary
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Bryan et al.
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30101545

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.