Adaptive Capacity

Enhancing the Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change

A new project, led by Dr. John Janmaat at the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia, is examining how to strengthen the ability of agricultural communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Building from earlier work completed by project partners Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Network and Climate Action Initiative, the project will use case studies to examine decision making at the individual and producer levels as well as the impact of policies and programs on climate change adaptation.


The challenges and opportunities confronting BC agriculture related to climate change, such as water shortages, wildfires, flooding and pests, are taking place within complex social and institutional relationships. Project partnerships across academic, government and agriculture sectors will be vital for understanding these interactions. The project will look at the Cariboo and Okanagan—regions each exemplifying unique adaptation challenges and complex social ecological systems. 


Three themes will guide the analysis of these case studies. The first theme is examining institutional decision-making: how do differing objectives and processes across regions and jurisdictions impact the implementation of adaptation strategies, and how might these processes be more effectively aligned? The second theme is exploring how the impacts of policies and programs for agricultural adaptation are distributed across different producers, and the extent to which the outcomes are consistent with broader social objectives. The third theme is focused on producer adaptation decisions: how are these decisions influenced by attitudes, norms, and financial returns, and how does information flow through producer networks?



The project team includes ACARN members, Hannah Wittman (UBC), John Church (TRU), David Connell (UNBC), Lenore Newman (UFV), Lisa Powell (UFV), Sean Smukler (UBC), Gary Telford (AAFC), Emily MacNair (CAI) and Allen James (ARDCorp).



The project is funded by a two-year Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. These grants support academic research teams working in formal partnerships with other organizations to develop social science research and facilitate knowledge sharing.