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Image of boat on estuary

This project, which is funded by an ESRC IAA, is led by Dr Julian Clark from the University of Birmingham in collaboration with Dr Nikoleta Jones and Dr James McGinlay from Anglia Ruskin University.

The aim of the project is to disseminate the findings from the application of a new framework capturing the complexities of socio-ecological systems and how they influence perceptions for climate change adaptation policies.

This work is a follow-up of the framework developed in the project ESCALATE (FP7) which aimed to explain the level of support of local communities for climate change adaptation policies taking into consideration local levels of social capital.

This ESRC IAA project aims to place the ESCALATE framework in a broader context taking into consideration the complexities in areas of high biodiversity value which are at risk due to climate change impacts.

The project is being implemented at the Alde and Ore Estuary in Suffolk. The area is designated as SAC and SPA and provides significant ecosystem services for local communities. At the same time, it is an area facing increasingly climate change impacts.

Several organisations are involved in finding optimum adaptation and mitigation strategies and the main focus in the past years has been on monitoring current impacts of climate change, developing scenarios for future management and implementing biodiversity restoration projects.

ESCALATION will use existing data capturing the main characteristics of the social, economic and environmental system and combine them with additional data collected through in-depth personal interviews in order to identify the links between the social and the ecological systems and how these may impact perceptions for proposed policies.

In particular, the in-depth interviews conducted during the project aim to explore the following: the ecosystem services provided to communities, the complexities linking the social and the ecological system, the role of perceptions for ecosystem services in climate change adaptation policies.