Reducing vulnerability to climate change in the Swiss Alps: a study of adaptive planning
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AbstractThe Swiss Alps will experience pronounced effects of climate change due to the combination of their latitudinal positioning, altitude and unique ecosystems, placing socio-economic stresses on alpine communities, many of which rely on seasonal tourism. Studies into tourism adaptation within the Swiss Alps have so far focused on the technical adaptation options of alpine stakeholders, rather than perceptions of adaptation to climate change at the operational and community level. This article investigates attitudes to adaptation in two alpine regions within Switzerland's well-established decentralized political framework, through semi-structured qualitative interviews. Stakeholders focused almost entirely on maintaining the status quo of winter tourism, through technical or marketing measures, with mixed attitudes towards climatic impacts. A matrix based on the relative internal strengths and weaknesses, external opportunities and threats of adaptation measures (a SWOT framework) was used to assess the measures and suggest how stakeholders could capitalize on the new opportunities thrown up by climate change to create a competitive advantage. A comprehensive and collaborative planning approach is vital to enable policy makers and stakeholders to maximize opportunities, minimize the adverse effects of climate change on the local economy, and develop inclusive adaptation measures that benefit the entire region in order to create more sustainable social, economic and environmental structures.
Hill, Margot; Wallner, Astrid; Furtado, Jose (2010). Reducing vulnerability to climate change in the Swiss Alps: a study of adaptive planning. Climate policy, 10(1), pp. 70-86. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis 10.3763/cpol.2008.0536 <http://dx.doi.org/10.3763/cpol.2008.0536>