Making sense of changing coastal systems: overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation using fuzzy cognitive mapping

Thumbnail Image
Gray, Stefan
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University College Cork
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
This thesis describes the role and value of Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (FCM) in undertaking coastal climate change adaptation at the local scale, comparing FCM against existing, scenario-based adaptation methods in overcoming known barriers to adaptation. It describes the attributes and limitations of FCM as a modelling tool, exploring what must be accounted for in considering the use of FCM in mixed stakeholder settings where individual and group knowledge must be integrated to form a view of the system under study, discussing in some detail the facilitation strengths and weaknesses inherent to the method. These issues are then described via reference to case-studies in Ireland and Scotland, drawing inferences regarding the ease with which an FCM-based approach to adaptation might be substituted for orthodox, scenario-based adaptation. This is found to not only be feasible, but preferable, provided there is sufficient facilitation capacity on hand to manage the added complexity that FCM carries over simple narrative scenario development. Adding to the value that FCM offers in adaptation contexts, the thesis also explores its value as both a diagnostic tool for establishing what additional capacity building or data may be required by adaptation decision makers, and also as a tool for gauging the extent to which resilience gains (or losses) might be measured. Although FCM cannot be claimed to provide a robust objective measure of resilience gains or losses, it can nevertheless usefully illustrate to decision makers the strengths and limitations of their own understanding of the systems which they must manage. This is perhaps where the future of FCM-based systems analysis in support of adaptation may ultimately lie.
Climate change adaptation , Modelling , Scenario analysis , Fuzzy cognitive mapping
Gray, S. 2019. Making sense of changing coastal systems: overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation using fuzzy cognitive mapping. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
Link to publisher’s version