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Adaptation knowledge for New Zealand’s primary industries: Known, not known and needed

Cradock-Henry, NA
Flood, S
Buelow, F
Blackett, P
Wreford, Anita
Journal Article
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development , ANZSRC::0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management , ANZSRC::070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness , ANZSRC::050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change , ANZSRC::4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation
Climate sensitive primary industries including pastoral farming, high-value horticulture and viticulture are central to Aotearoa-New Zealand’s economy. While advances have been made in understanding the impacts and implications of climate change critical knowledge gaps remain, particularly for adaptation. This study develops and applies a novel methodology to identify and characterise adaptation knowledge for primary industries. The basis for the review is ten years’ of research and action under the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) program, supplemented with a systematic review of the published literature. Reports (n = 32) and literature (n = 22) are reviewed and assessed using the Adaptation Knowledge Cycle to characterise analytical and empirical foci. The detailed assessment of knowledge for Impacts, Implications, Decisions or Actions enables a robust and rigorous assessment of existing knowledge, identifies critical research gaps and emerging needs. Results show research to date has focused almost exclusively on understanding the impact of climate variability and extremes on land management. There are significant empirical (e.g. location and sector) and methodological (e.g. integrated assessments, scenarios, and vulnerability assessment) gaps, for at risk regions and sectors, and limited understanding of the decisions and actions necessary to enable successful adaptation. To inform future adaptation planning, additional work is required to better understand the implications, decision-making processes and obstacles to action. More detailed understanding of location-, season-, time- and sector-specific responses to climate change is also necessary. Findings advance our understanding of adaptation knowledge and reflect on diversity of information necessary to enable and sustain resilient rural futures and provide a conceptual and methodological basis for similar assessments elsewhere.