Adaptation to climate change has been traditionally studied at the scale of the individual, with studies either looking at vulnerability or focusing on specific adaptation actions and the potential of individuals to engage in that behavior. However, policy relevant adaptation to climate change needs to take place at the broader scale of the coupled social-ecological systems (SES) to adequately inform decision making. Despite the general need to understand adaptation in coupled systems, we don’t know yet to what extent vulnerability and adaptation studies are considering the complexity of SES. The present study contributes to this need by looking at each of the variables that have been measured in applied studies of vulnerability, adaptation and SES sustainability. With SES theory as a reference, we conduct a systematic review and comparison between case studies on small-scale fisheries that apply SES, vulnerability and adaptation approaches. We find a gap between theory and implementation, such as interactions between social and ecological subsystems, and related ecosystems. On contrast, there is a focus of attention on actors, governance systems and resource units. We propose a set of guidelines to better address adaptation in social-ecological systems that include broadening the coverage of adaptation studies, better addressing interactions, considering cultural and ecological variables and conducting stakeholder consultations.
Bio: Diego Salgueiro is a PhD candidate at the University of Vigo conducting research on adaptation of artisanal fisheries to Climate Change. Diego has always been amazed by nature, he studied Marine Sciences at the University of Vigo, with student exchange experiences in GEOMAR-Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Christian-Albrechts_Universität zu Kiel and Autónoma Baja California University. After combining social and educational work he became a Master´s student in Biodiversity, Functions and Management of Ecosystems, in the Basque Country University, where he has collaborated with the University of Santiago de Compostela for his Master’s thesis developing the Ocean Health Index at a regional scale. By getting to know different worldviews, Diego derives his main research questions on socio-ecological systems, climate change and adaptation. The analysis of the diversity of perceptions and the networks structures that are related to climate change adaptation are the two main pillars of his investigation. Also, he takes part of educational programs and outreach activities where he communicates the acquired knowledge. From April to July 2019, Diego is visiting the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies to work with Michele Barnes and learn more about the network approach and climate change adaptation in small-scale fisheries.