A large proportion of the population in Fiji and Tonga rely on services from the landscape to support their livelihoods. These same populations remain acutely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and variability.
Agriculture in the landscape
The agricultural sector has been identified as a sector for growth to support economic development and poverty alleviation in Fiji and Tonga. Policy and development project interventions are being implemented that follow this growth-orientated vision for agriculture, yet it is important that these interventions do not undermine rural livelihoods or sustainability, threaten climate resilience or exacerbate existing climate vulnerabilities or landscape degradation.
In Fiji and Tonga livelihoods and landscapes are highly interconnected, thus interventions and climate impacts across landscapes can propagate through a system and across scales, making it difficult to predict impacts on livelihoods. Interventions in landscapes need to be assessed in terms of their potential systemic impacts on livelihoods, landscape sustainability, and capacity to respond to climate stressors.
Harnessing geospatial information
Collaborative mapping approaches, which draw upon principles of participatory mapping, geospatial science and participatory action research, have been utilised to capture the complexities of livelihood-landscape interactions. These approaches also empower community members with respect to environmental decision making. However, to date, several limitations have been identified with contemporary mapping approaches which include its time intensive nature, the static representation of landscapes-livelihood systems that fail to capture the dynamic nature of vulnerabilities, and the difficulties in sharing information collected by various mapping activities.
This project seeks to address these limitations through co-development of a dynamic collaborative geospatial platform which will bring together communities and higher-level stakeholders for more effective information communication, with collation and dissemination across geographic scales to help facilitate improved multi-functional agricultural landscape management.
Building climate resilience
Our proposed collaborative geospatial platform will draw upon the Environmental Livelihoods Security framework to capture dynamic vulnerabilities and links between livelihoods, landscape resources, and climate stressors.
The co-developed platform will build community-level capacity to manage landscapes under changing climates, enabling enhanced climate-smart practice. This will be achieved through improved multi-stakeholder communications and the co-design of adaptation pathways for landscape interventions to build climate resilience.
The outputs from this research will build climate resilience to enhance environmental livelihood security and sustainability within the landscape, whilst also complementing existing agricultural development and market-orientated interventions