Lessons from the construction of a climate change adaptation plan
Lessons from the construction of a climate change adaptation plan: A Broads wetland case study - May 2016
The dynamic nature of environmental change in coastal areas means that a flexible 'learning by doing' management strategy has a number of advantages. This paper lays out the principles of such a strategy, and then assesses an actual planning and management process focused on climate change consequences for the Broads wetland on the East coast of England. The management strategy focused on the concept of ecosystem services (stocks and flows) provided by the coastal wetland and the threats and opportunities posed to the area by sea level rise and other climate change impacts.
The analysis explores the process by which an adaptive management plan has been formulated and co-produced by a combination of centralised (vertical) and stakeholder social network (horizontal) arrangements. The process values where feasible the ecosystem services under threat and prioritises response actions. Coastal management needs a careful balance between strategic requirements imposed at a national scale and local schemes which affect regional/local communities and social networks.
These networks aided by electronic media have allowed groups to engage more rapidly and effectively with policy proposals. But successful deliberation is conditioned by a range of context specific factors, including the type of social networks present and their relative competitive/complementary characteristics. The history of consultation and dialogue between official agencies and stakeholders also plays a part in contemporary deliberation processes and the success of their outcomes. Among the issues highlighted are the multiple dimensions of nature's value; the difficulty of quantifying some ecosystem service changes, especially for cultural services; and the problem of 'stakeholder fatigue' complicating engagement arrangements.