Social adaptability in ecotones: sea-level rise and climate change adaptation in Flushing and the Isles of Scilly, UK

Abstract

Coastal zones and small islands are among the areas most impacted by global climate change and face great challenges for adaptation. While being considered as particularly vulnerable, many coastal communities, nevertheless, have long traditions of living not only by but with the sea. If such ecotones – places where ecosystems intersect – have features distinct from purely continental regions, the question is how life with the shore translates into adaptability towards environmental change. Life at the shore shapes emergent social relationships, local traditions and collective memory. At the same time, issues such as tourism development, demographic change, and national and international administrations influence how environmental challenges in coastal areas are addressed. In this paper, I analyse how place-specific social structures and conflicting influences in ecotones affect adaptability to sea-level rise in coastal areas. This research draws on quantitative and qualitative data from a comparative study of two case studies, a coastal town and an archipelago, in Southwest England

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Last time updated on 15/06/2019

This paper was published in MPG.PuRe.

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