The socio-economic vulnerability of the Australian east coast grazing sector to the impacts of climate change
2306 Global and Planetary Change
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AbstractResearch that projects biophysical changes under climate change is more advanced than research that projects socio-economic changes. There is a need in adaptation planning for informed socio-economic projections as well as analysis of how these changes may exacerbate or reduce vulnerability. Our focus in this paper is on the delivery of time-sensitive socio-economic information that can better support anticipatory adaptation planning approaches. Using a ‘multiple lines of evidence’ approach based on Australian Bureau of Statistics’ data (2010/2011), we examine the socio-economic vulnerability of the grazing sector located on Australia’s east coast. We profile the east coast grazing sector through an overview of the composition of its workforce and the value of grazing commodities produced. We then assess the potential vulnerability of the grazing sector using spatial snapshots of five factors known to shape socio-economic vulnerability in New South Wales and Queensland: (1) reliance on agriculture, (2) geographic remoteness, (3) socio-economic disadvantage, (4) economic diversity and (5) age. Our assessment of the east coast grazing sector reveals six subregions characterised by high potential socio-economic vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. We find high percentages of labour forces employed in agriculture, geographic remoteness and age (high percentages of owner/managers and employees in younger age groups) to be drivers of vulnerability. Finally, we evaluate the ways in which these vulnerabilities may be exacerbated or reduced in light of emerging environmental, economic and social trends. This approach complements demographic projection methods to deliver time-sensitive socio-economic information to support anticipatory adaptation planning.