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    The management of rangelands has long involved adapting to climate variability to ensure that economic enterprises remain viable and ecosystems sustainable; climate change brings the potential for change that surpasses the experience of humans within rangeland systems. Adaptation will require an intentionality to address the effects of climate change. Knowledge of vulnerability in these systems provides the foundation upon which to base adaptation strategies; however, few vulnerability assessments have examined and integrated the climate vulnerability of the ecological, economic, and social components of rangeland systems. The capacity of ecosystems, humans, and institutions to adjust to potential damage and to take advantage of opportunities is termed adaptive capacity. Given past attempts to cope with drought, current adaptive capacity is not sufficient to sustain rangeland enterprises under increasing climatic variability. Just as ecosystem development is affected by past events, historical studies suggest that past events in human communities influence future choices in response to day-to-day as well as abrupt events. All adaptation is local and no single adaptation approach works in all settings. A risk framework for adaptation could integrate key vulnerabilities, risk, and hazards, and facilitate development of adaptation actions that address the entire socio-ecological system. Adaptation plans will need to be developed and implemented with recognition of future uncertainty that necessitates an iterative implementation process as new experience and information accumulate. Developing the skills to manage with uncertainty may be a singularly important strategy that landowners, managers, and scientists require to develop adaptive capacity.

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    Joyce, Linda A.; Marshall, Nadine A. 2017. Managing climate change risks in rangeland systems [Chapter 15]. In: Briske, D. D., ed. Rangeland systems: Processes, management and challenges. Springer Series on Environmental Management. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature. p. 491-526.


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    adaptive capacity, socio-ecological systems, risk, vulnerability, adaptation planning

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