Purdue University Graduate School
Nixondissertation_final.pdf (20.49 MB)

Adaptation to social-ecological change on the Swat and Kabul Rivers of Pakistan

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posted on 2021-01-06, 20:49 authored by Rebecca E NixonRebecca E Nixon
Social-ecological change has driven smallholder farmers throughout the world to employ a diverse array of adaptation strategies. Social, economic, and cultural factors along with environmental changes have been widely studied as determinants of adaptation decision-making. Increasingly, scholars are also examining the role of values in these decisions. Many have posited that adaptation to social-ecological change will necessitate tradeoffs of these values; however, little empirical work has been done to identify and examine these tradeoffs. In response to this gap, we first identify how farmers and fishers adapted to multiple social-ecological stressors in northwestern Pakistan. Second, we investigate how social-ecological factors, perceived changes, and perceived costs influence adaptation decision-making and adaptive capacity. Third, we examine the role of and tradeoffs between values in adaptation decision-making. Based on our findings, we posit that in addition to the identification of values, it is also necessary to examine values as they relate to one another, change over time, and are embedded in multi-scalar processes. This will allow us to more fully understand the factors that influence adaptation decisions and support more equitable strategies that align with stakeholders’ diverse values.


National Academy of Sciences AID-OAA-A-11-00012


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Forestry and Natural Resources

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Zhao Ma

Additional Committee Member 2

Trevor Birkenholtz

Additional Committee Member 3

Bushra Khan

Additional Committee Member 4

Linda Lee

Additional Committee Member 5

Laura Zanotti