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Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems

Climate Change, Social Changes, Technological Development

Ed. by Inostroza, Luis / Fürst, Christine

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A systematic approach to assess human wellbeing demonstrated for impacts of climate change

Tabea K. Lissner
  • Corresponding author
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, P.O.Box 60 12 03, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
  • Geography Department, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
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  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Dominik E. Reusser / Tobia Lakes / Jürgen P. Kropp
  • Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, P.O.Box 60 12 03, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
  • Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Potsdam University, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2014-12-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/cass-2014-0010


Climate change impacts will affect many important societal sectors, with potential negative consequences for human well-being and livelihoods, however an integrated and systematic measure to assess the state of livelihood conditions in this context is not available. At the same time, human livelihoods and wellbeing are an important part of (social) sustainability. Yet, aspects of human needs and well-being within assessments of sustainability are criticised for being arbitrary and incomplete. This paper presents a systematic approach to assess Adequate Human livelihood conditions for wEll-being And Development (AHEAD) on a regional to global scale. Based on an interdisciplinary literature review, we first select a consistent set of elements that allow to describe and quantify well-being and livelihoods. In a second step, we analyze documented associations between the elements to outline climate impact pathways and indirect effects of changes in single system components, using an influence matrix. The novel approach provides an important first step to point towards climate change adaptation measures, which most effectively increase human well-being, while identifying potential unintended side-effects. Even though there are some limitations to assessing well-being and livelihoods on a global scale, a consistent measure of AHEAD is of utmost importance for future sustainability and climate impact analyses.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords : livelihood conditions; social sustainability; climate impacts; systems thinking


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About the article

Received: 2014-02-25

Accepted: 2014-09-08

Published Online: 2014-12-12

Citation Information: Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-3669, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/cass-2014-0010.

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© 2014 Tabea K. Lissner et al.. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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T. K. Lissner, D. E. Reusser, J. Schewe, T. Lakes, and J. P. Kropp
Earth System Dynamics, 2014, Volume 5, Number 2, Page 355

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