Risk perception and adaptation of climate change: An assessment of community resilience in rural Taiwan

Chun Hsien Lai, Pi Ching Liao, Szu Hung Chen, Yung Chieh Wang, Chingwen Cheng, Chen Fa Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Over the last five decades, there has been a decline of rural communities in Taiwan due to urbanization expansion. In the past 10 years, the central government has implemented the Rural Regeneration Project (RRP) aimed at revitalization and sustainable development in rural Taiwan. During the project’s implementation, communities have faced several disasters as a result of climate change-induced extreme rainfall events. Perceptions and adaptation practices of climate change-induced extreme events are critical to community sustainability and resilience. The gap between perceived and actual risks that communities experience creates challenges for policy-makers in achieving sustainability goals. This study aims to evaluate the perceived climate change-induced flooding hazard perceptions compared to the scientific projection and actual hazard events in 287 rural communities implementing the RRP. This study revealed consistency in risk perception, in that communities facing high potential exposure to extreme rainfall showed higher awareness of various impacts of climate change. However, when comparing climate actions, communities exposed to low-potential hazard areas had a relatively higher degree of recognition of the benefits of adaptation to climate change. Moreover, 59 rural communities with low awareness and exposed to high potentials of extreme events were widely distributed among hills of western, southern, and northern Taiwan, where compound disasters such as mudslides can occur. This research suggests that there is a need to integrate climate change planning and work with communities to bridge the gap between perceived and actual climate risks. In particular, capacity training, counseling services, and implementation of adaptation practices should be integrated into institutional planning and management for providing assistance in disaster prevention, relief, and post-event restoration; also, encouraging climate actions can directly improve community resilience toward climate change. While investing in the sustainable development of rural communities is largely based on revitalizing economic development, this study revealed the link to ensure resilience and social-ecological sustainability in rural communities under climate change impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3651
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this