Adaptation to Social–Ecological Change in Northwestern Pakistan: Household Strategies and Decision-making Processes

Rebecca Nixon, Zhao Ma, Laura Zanotti, Bushra Khan, Trevor Birkenholtz, Linda Lee, Ishaq Mian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Values are important factors shaping people’s perceptions of social–ecological changes and the associated impacts, acceptable risk, and successful adaptation to various changes; however, little empirical work has examined how values interact to influence adaptation decision-making. We drew on 25 semi-structured interviews with community leaders, farmers, fisherfolk, and individuals in the tourism industry in northwestern Pakistan to identify types of adaptations employed by households and explore what values were present in these households’ adaptation decisions. Our results show that households frequently employed environmental management and livelihood diversification to adapt to a wide range of social–ecological change. We found that multiple values influenced household adaptation and that employing an adaptation strategy often involved a tradeoff of values. We also found that household adaptations were embedded in multi-scalar social, cultural, economic, and political processes that could constrain or conflict with such adaptations. Overall, our research illustrates the complex influence of values on household adaptation decisions and highlights the need to further understand how adaptations are aligned, or misaligned, with stakeholders’ diverse values in order to inform more equitable adaptation to social–ecological change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-905
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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