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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Native forest owners’ perceptions and adaptation to climate change in the Los Lagos region, southern Chile Martínez Carrasco, Amanda


Climate change is seriously affecting agriculture and forests, and the productive systems rooted in them. Adaptation has been encouraged, however, to respond to the necessities of actors involved, local perspectives must be considered. In southern Chile, an important part of the population relies widely on agroforestry, however, little is known on how they perceive climate change and their decisions around adaptation. This study aimed to analyze how forest owners are perceiving and taking actions to adapt to climate change, and to identify the factors influencing the behaviour around this in the Los Lagos region, Chile. To accomplish this, 59 interviews were conducted in-person, where forest owners’ socioeconomic information and climate change experiences (i.e. perceptions, impacts perceived and adaption actions implemented) were gathered. The results showed that forest owners are perceiving climatic changes in the region through increases in temperatures and decreases in precipitation and water availability. They also reported impacts on the production systems, especially those related to grasslands and drinkable water. This has led to seeing climate change as a threat to the future. From this, adaptation actions have been implemented, mainly around water obtention. Despite this, roughly half of forest owners have adapted. To understand what factors were shaping this behaviour, and considering that perception and adaptation were acting jointly, a bivariate statistical model was estimated. As a result, the variables affecting perception were gender and off-farm incomes. In particular, female-head households were more inclined to see climatic variabilities as a risk, while off-farm incomes reduced this perception. At the same time, adaptation, was negatively influenced by off-farm incomes, that is, the less the owners depended on the farm, the less adaptation was implemented. Conversely, impacts influenced positively adaptation as the higher impacts perceived, the more adjustment was deployed on the farm. Overall, the variables affecting the adaptation process were more related to subjective experiences and to those variables that mediated the perspective of risk facing climate change, than to structural factors.

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