Coastal Communities’ Responses to Disturbance
Climate change will affect various aspects of coastal ecology and have social and economic consequences for coastal communities. The social and economic impacts of climate change to marine systems can broadly be placed into three categories: 1) direct impacts from sea level rise, cyclones, and coastal erosion; 2) indirect impacts to economic sectors such as marine-oriented tourism; and 3) fisheries. This chapter highlights the mechanisms whereby climate change will affect coastal societies and describes the range of potential options fishers have for dealing with the various changes. Importantly, mobilizing these various options will depend on the adaptive capacity of individual fishers and broader society. In cases, such as the poverty trap in the Kenyan fishery above, fishers are unable to mobilize the necessary aspects of adaptive capacity to effectively adapt to change. In other cases, such as in Tanzania, adaptations may create feedbacks with the ecosystem that can erode the resilience of the broader social-ecological system.
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