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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #378950

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: What makes southwestern communities resilient to climate change?

item STEELE, CAITI - New Mexico State University
item GUTIERREZ, PAAUL - New Mexico State University
item ANEY, SKYE - New Mexico State University
item Elias, Emile
item REYES, JULIAN - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Deswood, Helena

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/5/2019
Publication Date: 12/9/2019
Citation: Steele, C., Gutierrez, P., Aney, S., Elias, E.H., Reyes, J., Deswood, H. 2019. What makes southwestern communities resilient to climate change? [abstract]. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. December 9-13, 2019, San Francisco, CA. Poster #624120.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: With multiple interpretations of resilience in the physical and social science literature, and little consensus on its measurement and evaluation, determining what makes communities resilient to climate change can be challenging. Our goal is to identify drivers of community resilience in the southwest United States to inform outreach needs. These drivers may be physical traits of the community infrastructure and the surrounding environment, socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the community itself, or actions taken by public or private entities, individuals or groups to build community resilience. In pursuit of this goal, we have stepped outside of the conventional literature review to inventory programs that aim to improve community climate change readiness. In doing so, we establish how practitioners see resilience and consider climate change not in isolation but as a problem that co-exists with multiple issues such as available energy, transport, employment, housing, health services, access to food etc. We highlight challenges specific to the southwest region, where water is scarce, population is concentrated in urban and exurban settlements, and agriculture is important both economically and culturally. Further, the southwest sees some of the highest levels of poverty and deprivation in the country, most notably in tribal communities which have long been subject to institutional inequities and discrimination. Economically-disadvantaged communities will be disproportionately impacted by climate change and this is an environmental justice issue. To conclude, we summarize the infrastructural, demographic and socio-economic characteristics of resilient communities and we identify priority actions for outreach to build greater resilience for vulnerable southwestern communities.