Towards a heuristic for assessing adaptation knowledge: impacts, implications, decisions and actions

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Cradock-Henry, Nicholas A.
Buelow, Franca
Flood, Stephen
Blackett, Paula
Wreford, Anita
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Climate change poses a significant challenge to primary industries and adaptation will be required to reduce detrimental impacts and realise opportunities. Despite the breadth of information to support adaptation planning however, knowledge is fragmented, obscuring information needs, hampering strategic planning and constraining decision-making capacities. In this letter, we present and apply the Adaptation Knowledge Cycle (AKC), a heuristic for rapidly evaluating and systematising adaptation research by analytical foci: Impacts, Implications, Decisions or Actions. We demonstrate its application through an assessment of ten years’ climate change adaptation research for New Zealand’s primary industries. The letter draws on the results of systematic review, empirical analysis, workshops, interviews, narrative analyses and pathways planning to synthesise information and identify knowledge gaps. Results show the heuristic’s simplicity is valuable for cross- and transdisciplinary communication on adaptation in New Zealand’s primary industries. Results also provide insight into what we know and need to know with respect to undertaking adaptation planning. With the development of tools and processes to inform decision making under conditions of uncertainty—such as adaptation pathways—it is increasingly important to efficiently and accurately determine knowledge needs. The combination of systematic data collection techniques, and heuristics such as the AKC may provide researchers and stakeholders with an efficient, robust tool to review and synthesise existing knowledge, and identify emerging research priorities. Results can in turn support the design of targeted research and inform adaptation strategies for policy and practice.
Climate change , Adaptation , Knowledge , Pathways planning , Agriculture , Impacts
Cradock-Henry, N. A., Buelow, F., Flood, S., Blackett, P. and Wreford, A. (2019) 'Towards a heuristic for assessing adaptation knowledge: impacts, implications, decisions and actions', Environmental Research Letters, 14(9), 093002. (17pp.) DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab370c