Cumulative impacts of climate change and expanding coastal development are making it difficult for some communities to survive, let alone prosper. For coastal communities, impacts accrue through sea level rise, extreme weather events such as storm surge and flooding, rural-urban transitions, population growth, and increased consumption. For the past 50 years, the concept and principles of integrated coastal management have been considered best practice to respond to these challenges. However, the condition of the world’s coasts is still in decline and under increasing threat.
Research is needed to understand the interplay between cumulative pressures on coastal communities and approaches to respond to these pressures in a way that protects Australia’s prosperity and well-being. While efforts to mitigate climate change are vital, they are insufficient in isolation, leading to a greater focus on adaptive responses. However, despite growing research on climate change adaption, there is still uncertainty about the cumulative impacts of environmental and socio-economic change. Few research studies take a holistic approach to assessing vulnerability – yet it is critical because of the rapid and multi-faceted changes occurring in many coastal regions, which influence effective strategies and the ability to be adaptive in the future.
Addressing these knowledge gaps will improve academic discussion on vulnerability and resilience, adaptation, and adaptive capacity; as well as provide crucial practical recommendations for coastal governance.
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The theoretical contribution of the project is summarised here
Check out the case study areas