Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    The rise of demand-driven climate services
    Lourenço, Tiago Capela ; Swart, Rob ; Goosen, Hasse ; Street, Roger - \ 2016
    Nature Climate Change 6 (2016)1. - ISSN 1758-678X - p. 13 - 14.
    With the concept of climate services rapidly climbing research and research-funding agendas worldwide, the time is ripe for a debate about the objectives, scope and content of such services.
    Towards a diagnostic adaptation science
    Hinkel, Jochen ; Bisaro, Alexander ; Swart, Rob - \ 2016
    Regional Environmental Change 16 (2016)1. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 1 - 5.
    Frontiers of solution-oriented adaptation research
    Bisaro, A. ; Swart, R.J. ; Hinkel, J. - \ 2016
    Regional Environmental Change 16 (2016)1. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 123 - 136.
    Adaptation is heterogeneous and relevant for a range of sectors and levels of decision-making. As adaptation moves up the policy agenda, solution-oriented adaptation research requires addressing questions that are salient to stakeholders and decision-makers at various scales and involves applying a wide range of different methods. Yet while solution-oriented adaptation research is being increasingly undertaken, there is to date a lack of synthesis of these experiences in the literature. In this paper, we aim to address this gap by synthesising findings in nine cases from the MEDIATION project (Methodology for Effective Decision-making on Impacts and AdaptaTION), an EC-funded solution-oriented adaptation research project. We do so by, first, describing methods applied for solution-oriented research in Europe and sequences of methods carried out in individual cases. Second, we assess strengths and weaknesses of individual methods in given empirical situations. Third, we analyse patterns observed in the sequences of methods and reflect on their implications for adaptation research. A strength of our approach is that detailed data on choices of research questions and methods were collected through in-depth and iterative interaction with the case study teams. We find that there is no standard recipe for adaptation; that even though social science methods are often indicated, they are often not applied; and that robust decision-making methods, while available, are often constrained because of their resource intensity. Reflecting on the implications of these findings, we argue that greater flexibility and transdisciplinarity are needed in adaptation research and that social science methods should be further supported. Finally, we find that stakeholder engagement is not a panacea and that engagement requires a more differentiated understanding of stakeholders and careful design in order to be effective.
    Forest Fires and Adaptation Options in Europe
    Khabarov, N. ; Krasovskii, A. ; Obersteiner, M. ; Swart, R.J. ; Dosio, A. ; San-Miguel-Ayanz, J. ; Durrant, T. ; Camia, A. ; Migliavacca, M. - \ 2016
    Regional Environmental Change 16 (2016)1. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 21 - 30.
    This paper presents a quantitative assessment of adaptation options in the context of forest fires in Europe under projected climate change. A standalone fire model (SFM) based on a state-of-the-art large-scale forest fire modelling algorithm is used to explore fuel removal through prescribed burnings and improved fire suppression as adaptation options. The climate change projections are provided by three climate models reflecting the SRES A2 scenario. The SFM’s modelled burned areas for selected test countries in Europe show satisfying agreement with observed data coming from two different sources (European Forest Fire Information System and Global Fire Emissions Database). Our estimation of the potential increase in burned areas in Europe under “no adaptation” scenario is about 200 % by 2090 (compared with 2000–2008). The application of prescribed burnings has the potential to keep that increase below 50 %. Improvements in fire suppression might reduce this impact even further, e.g. boosting the probability of putting out a fire within a day by 10 % would result in about a 30 % decrease in annual burned areas. By taking more adaptation options into consideration, such as using agricultural fields as fire breaks, behavioural changes, and long-term options, burned areas can be potentially reduced further than projected in our analysis.
    Steden en gemeenten adapteren
    Coninx, I. ; Och, R.A.F. van; Swart, R.J. ; Goosen, H. ; Bijsterveldt, M.A.J.C. van; Masselink, L.J.W. ; Sips, K. ; Vincke, Jan ; Bonné, Evita - \ 2015
    Brussel : Departement Leefmilieu, Natuur en Energie - 123 p.
    Cities and municipalities in Flanders will increasingly be confronted with the impacts of climate change. The
    Department of LNE intends to support them by the prevention of and adaptation to these impacts by offering
    an easily accessible toolbox with which local authorities can decrease their vulnerability. This toolbox will help
    the local authorities to ease, in an ‘automatic’ way, to develop a local adaptation plan. This report proposes the
    characteristics of such a toolbox. It is based on (i) an analysis of different steps in the adaptation decision-making
    processes, (ii) a mapping of adaptation support needs of municipalities, (iii) an inventory and evaluation of existing
    instruments for adaptation, (iv) the demonstration and testing existing instruments that meets the adaptation
    support needs of local authorities and (v) a description of the Adaptation Toolbox for Flanders, based on the
    Analysis of steps in adaptation processes. Based on an analysis of national and international adaptation processes
    six steps are distinguished that shape the decision-making process of climate change adaptation at the local level:
    fostering political commitment, climate impact and vulnerability analysis, identification of adaptation measures,
    prioritizing and choosing adaptation measures, implementing measures, and monitoring and evaluation. In practice,
    these steps will not always be taken subsequently but sometimes also in parallel. Stakeholder engagement is
    relevant for all steps.
    Adaptation support needs of local authorities. Information on adaptation support needs of local authorities was
    analysed through a number of interviews with different types of municipalities across Flanders. Needs and desires
    depend on factors such as the size of a municipality, the available staff and funds, the motivation of staff involved
    and the progress made in developing climate plans. The willingness of a wide variety of municipalities to participate
    and the interest in the issue appeared to be large, which also led to a very wide diversity of needs and wishes as to
    the characteristics of a toolbox.
    Analysis of existing methods and tools. An inventory resulted in about 89 existing methods and tools that could
    be relevant for a Flemish toolbox, from Belgium, the Netherlands, and other Western countries. The tools were
    organized and evaluated according to a number of aspects, such as their specific purposes, the accessibility, the
    required level of expertise, the type of climate effects, the ease or complexity of application, the level of scale, the
    type of output and the potential for transfer to an application in Flanders. Furthermore, benefits and pitfalls are
    identified. The 89 instruments were structured in a decision tree to ease the search for the most appropriate tool.
    Playzone. In a workshop, instruments that fit to the adaptation support needs were demonstrated and tested
    by the participants for their applicability in the Flemish context. This exercise made clear that many of the tools
    have potential, but need to be translated to the Flemish situation, and for non-Dutch tools, translated. Many of
    them also require Flemish data. It is important that detailed data and other relevant information on climate risks
    and vulnerabilities will become available for Flanders, where this is currently sometimes the cases for Antwerp
    and a limited number of other cities and regions. This should preferably be at one location and compatible with
    software systems used by Flemish municipalities. The toolbox should take the level of available knowledge and
    human resources into account as well as the need to integrate climate change adaptation with other policy areas.
    Participants confirmed the urgency of such a toolbox and also the feasibility.
    Describing the Adaptation Toolbox. Based on the inteviews, the steering group consultations, the analyses and the
    playzone activity recommendations are formulated for the Adaptation Toolbox for Flemish municipalities and cities.
    Adaptation support needs and instrument specifications are fully considered. Recommendations are made on the
    Adaptation Toolbox, including: (a) bringing together information on climate impact and vulnerability in a GIS viewer;
    (b) a climate test for new and ongoing projects; (c) a database of adaptation measures, including information
    on vulnerabilities, costs and effects; (d) a Climate Cuisine – a workshop to involve stakeholders in identifying
    adaptation measures and developing an adaptation plan; (g) financial support on synergies in local budgets and
    help to find national and European subsidies to finance adaptation measures. In addition to an online toolbox, we
    recommend the development of an Adaptation Community where a lively dialogue will take place between local
    authorities, provinces, companies, citizens, NGO’s and the Flemish authorities on adaptation practices and how to
    develop than as efficient as possible.
    National action supporting urban adaptation in EEA Member States
    Breil, M. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2015
    Copenhagen : ETC CCA (Eionet Report ETC/CCA 2015/3) - 45 p.
    Map book urban vulnerability to climate change : Factsheets
    Timmerman, J.G. ; Bacciu, Valentina ; Coninx, I. ; Fons, J. ; Gregor, M. ; Havranek, Miroslav ; Jacobs, C.M.J. ; Loehnertz, M. ; Peltonen, L. ; Sainz, M. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2015
    Copenhagen : European Environment Agency - 90 p.
    National monitoring, reporting and evaluation of climate change adaptation in Europe
    Pringle, P. ; Karali, E. ; Klostermann, J.E.M. ; Mäkinen, K. ; Prutsch, A. ; Hildén, M. ; Swart, R.J. ; Street, R. ; MCCallum, S. - \ 2015
    Copenhagen : European Environment Agency (EEA Technical Report 20/2015) - ISBN 9789292137052 - 68
    Acknowledgements : National monitoring, reporting and evaluation of climate change adaption in Europe
    Timmerman, J.G. ; Coninx, I. ; Jacobs, C.M.J. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2015
    Copenhagen : European Environment Agency (EEA)
    Communicating climate (change) uncertainties: simulation games as boundary objects
    Pelt, S.C. van; Haasnoot, M. ; Arts, B.J.M. ; Ludwig, F. ; Swart, R.J. ; Biesbroek, G.R. - \ 2015
    Environmental Science & Policy 45 (2015). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 41 - 52.
    science-policy interface - decision-support - projections - adaptation - politics - information - transition - management - working - systems
    Climate science is characterized by large uncertainties about the direction, extent and time frame of climate change. Communicating these uncertainties is important for decision making on robust adaptation strategies, but proves to be a challenge for scientists particularly because of the complexity of uncertainties that are part of natural variability and of human induced climate change. The aim of this paper is to assess the role of a simulation game, as intermediate, to the communication of climate change uncertainties to water managers. In three workshops with water managers, the simulation game ‘Sustainable Delta’ was played to test the influence of the game on their understanding of climate change uncertainty using ex ante and ex post surveys. In each workshop an experimental- and control group were given different assignments to measure the influence of the game. The results show that although the differences between groups were not statistically significant, a change in their understanding of uncertainties was observed. The paper concludes that the learning effect of the game is inconclusive, but that the game does fosters a broader understanding of the concept climate change uncertainty. In doing so, simulation games are a promising approach to support the communication of climate change uncertainties meaningfully and support the process of adaptation to an uncertain future.
    Socioecological inequalities in European urban areas : A first exploration of incidences, causes, consequences and assessment methods
    Aalbers, C.B.E.M. ; Vries, S. de; Swart, R.J. ; Betgen, C. ; Eupen, M. van - \ 2014
    Wageningen : WUR, Alterra - 51 p.
    Climate Change Adaptation Manual : Lessons learned from European and other industrialised countries
    Prutsch, Andrea ; Grothmann, Torsten ; MCCallum, S. ; Schauser, I. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2014
    London : Routledge - ISBN 9780203381267 - 378 p.
    economics - finance - business & industry - environment and sustainability - law - politics & international relations
    Due to the lack of success in climate change mitigation efforts, the importance of adaptation is becoming more and more apparent and is now one of the main imperatives of international research and action. However, research on adaptation is mostly not directly applicable to adaptation policy or practice, leaving a gap between scientific results and practical advice for decision makers and planners. This book seeks to address this problem and bridge the gap and should provide readers with practical and applicable information on climate change adaptation.Following an introduction, the book is organised into four main sections, each reflecting an essential component in the adaptation process. Climate change adaptation is an emerging subject area and has gained increased political and academic attention within the last decade. Whereas most books in the field focus on adaptation in developing countries, this volume provides an examination of predominantly European policy and offers inter-disciplinary insight into cutting edge knowledge and lessons learnt in a relatively new field of implementation.
    Copernicus climate change services and the Climate-ADAPT platform
    Linden, P. van der; Buontempo, C. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2014
    European Environment Agency
    National adaptation policy processes in European countries - 2014
    Biesbroek, R. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2014
    European Environment Agency - ISBN 9789292134846 - 136 p.
    This report draws on the results of a self-assessment survey conducted on national adaptation policy processes in Europe. In May 2013, the survey was sent out by the European Environment Agency (EEA) to authorities in countries responsible for coordinating adaptation at national level (the EEA 32 member countries, and in Croatia in July 2013 as a new EU Member State and EEA member country). Some 30 EEA member countries provided their responses on a voluntary basis. Thanks to the high response rate and the wealth of information provided by these European countries, this report presents a unique collection of information and the largest and most comprehensive overview of national adaptation policy processes in Europe, to date.
    Future directions for national adaptation policies in Europe
    Swart, R.J. ; Biesbroek, G.R. ; Hildén, M. ; Isoard, S. ; Prutsch, A. ; MCCallum, S. - \ 2014
    In: National adaptation policy processes in European countries - 2014 Luxembourgh : European Environment Agency (EEA Report No 4/2014) - ISBN 9789292134853 - p. 112 - 114.
    Science of adaptation to climate change and science for adaptation
    Swart, R.J. ; Biesbroek, G.R. ; Capela Lourenco, T. - \ 2014
    Frontiers in Environmental Science 2 (2014). - ISSN 2296-665X - 8 p.
    Adaptation to climate change has gained a prominent place next to mitigation on global, national, and local policy agendas. However, while an abundance of adaptation strategies, plans, and programmes have been developed, progress in turning these into action has been slow. The development of a sound knowledge basis to support adaptation globally is suggested to accelerate progress, but has lagged behind. The emphasis in both current and newly proposed programmes is very much on practice-oriented research with strong stakeholder participation. This paper supports such practice-oriented research, but argues that this is insufficient to support adaptation policy and practice in a productive manner. We argue that there is not only a need for science for adaptation, but also a science of adaptation. The paper argues that participatory, practice-oriented research is indeed essential, but has to be complemented by and connected to more fundamental inquiry and concept development, which takes into account knowledge that has been developed in disciplinary sciences and on issues other than climate change adaptation. At the same time, the level and method of participation in science for adaptation should be determined on the basis of the specific project context and goals. More emphasis on science of adaptation can lead to improved understanding of the conditions for successful science for adaptation.
    Climate change adaptation planning in agriculture: processes, experiences and lessons learned from early adapters
    Bizikova, L. ; Crawford, E. ; Nijnik, M. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2014
    Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 19 (2014)4. - ISSN 1381-2386 - p. 411 - 430.
    sustainable adaptation - policy responses - level - vulnerability - states
    This paper explores the lessons learned by leaders in agricultural adaptation planning in order to assist other jurisdictions to develop adaptation strategies. It seeks to identify effective institutional, participatory and collaborative processes involved in designing agricultural adaptation strategies at the national and sub-national levels in Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. Its methodology is based on review of agricultural adaptation policy documents, research initiatives, stakeholder engagement processes, and cross-sectoral collaborations as well as interviews with key informants such as leaders and actors in adaptation planning. The gathered data show that early adapters have an improved regional and national understanding of climatic impacts, and of the risks to agriculture before the initiation of the planning process. The results indicate that the interplay between bottom-up and top-down initiatives has been crucial in the development of adaptation strategies. The former has provided rich and robust participation in designing, implementing and monitoring adaptations, while the latter was important for prioritizing and legitimizing the development of strategy. It also provided access to high-level decision makers and funding. The results of the study suggest that fostering cross-sectoral collaborations—especially by focusing on broader questions such as the role of agriculture in society—has become an important part of adaptation planning. Finally, our results also stress that adaptation planning in agriculture could be enhanced by skills development and mutual learning across stakeholder groups, research and policy-makers, and through the ongoing interactive development of institutional capabilities.
    Learning through collaboration – Knowledge Transfer and Sharing in Climate Change Adaptation. Research between European and developing countries. A CIRCLE-2 research policy brief
    Swart, R.J. ; Alberth, J. ; Kuna, B. ; Lillieskold, M. ; Hanzlickova, M. ; Horstmann, B. - \ 2014
    Lisbon/Portugal : Foundation of the Faculty of Sciences - 20
    klimaatverandering - klimaatadaptatie - kennisoverdracht - milieubeleid - ontwikkelingslanden - landen van de europese unie - climatic change - climate adaptation - knowledge transfer - environmental policy - developing countries - european union countries
    From 2004-2009, and from 2009-2014, partners of CIRCLE (Climate Impact Research & Response Coordination for a Larger Europe) have collaborated to fund research and share knowledge on climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation and the promotion of long-term cooperation among national and regional climate change programmes in Europe.
    Productive Science-practice Interactions in Climate Change Adaptation : Lessons from practice. A CIRCLE-2 research policy brief
    Groot, A.M.E. ; Hollaender, K. ; Swart, R.J. - \ 2014
    Lisbon/Portugal : Foundation of the Faculty of Sciences - 32
    klimaatverandering - klimaatadaptatie - kennisoverdracht - milieubeleid - climatic change - climate adaptation - knowledge transfer - environmental policy
    In the early stage of a project, it is important to account for a diversity of users. Policy makers and practitioners need to be distinguished from politicians, business managers and other actual decision-makers as they might have different information needs.
    Science-practice interactions for effective climate change adaptation: Identifying new approaches for collaboration between Europe and low-income countries
    Swart, Rob - \ 2014
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