Spatially Representing Vulnerability to Extreme Rain Events Using Midwestern Farmers’ Objective and Perceived Attributes of Adaptive Capacity

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2019-01-01
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Gardezi, Maaz
Arbuckle, J. Gordon
Arbuckle, J. Gordon
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Sociology
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Sociology
Abstract

Potential climate‐change‐related impacts to agriculture in the upper Midwest pose serious economic and ecological risks to the U.S. and the global economy. On a local level, farmers are at the forefront of responding to the impacts of climate change. Hence, it is important to understand how farmers and their farm operations may be more or less vulnerable to changes in the climate. A vulnerability index is a tool commonly used by researchers and practitioners to represent the geographical distribution of vulnerability in response to global change. Most vulnerability assessments measure objective adaptive capacity using secondary data collected by governmental agencies. However, other scholarship on human behavior has noted that sociocultural and cognitive factors, such as risk perceptions and perceived capacity, are consequential for modulating people's actual vulnerability. Thus, traditional assessments can potentially overlook people's subjective perceptions of changes in climate and extreme weather events and the extent to which people feel prepared to take necessary steps to cope with and respond to the negative effects of climate change. This article addresses this knowledge gap by: (1) incorporating perceived adaptive capacity into a vulnerability assessment; (2) using spatial smoothing to aggregate individual‐level vulnerabilities to the county level; and (3) evaluating the relationships among different dimensions of adaptive capacity to examine whether perceived capacity should be integrated into vulnerability assessments. The result suggests that vulnerability assessments that rely only on objective measures might miss important sociocognitive dimensions of capacity. Vulnerability indices and maps presented in this article can inform engagement strategies for improving environmental sustainability in the region.

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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Gardezi, Maaz, and J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr. "Spatially representing vulnerability to extreme rain events using midwestern farmers’ objective and perceived attributes of adaptive capacity." Risk Analysis 39, no. 1 (2019): 17-34, which has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1111/risa.12943. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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