Research Topic

Managing Land for Risk: Climate Decision-Making in the Context of Forests, Farms, and Rangelands

About this Research Topic

As climate change drives increasingly frequent and severe storms, droughts, wildfires, and pest and disease outbreaks, individuals must decide how to reduce risk to themeselves and their livelihoods. Individuals whose livelihoods directly depend on farming, forestry, and ranching arguably have great stake in managing land to reduce risk, as well as substantial capacity.

Climate risk management is nevertheless fraught with challenges for individuals. Climate change is a complex set of stressors that interact within and across scales, with uncertain impacts at local levels, and individuals have trouble making rational decisions under conditions of uncertainty and complexity. At some scales, climate-driven changes are particularly difficult for individuals to perceive and respond to, for example incremental increases in temperature at the global level or local sea rise in the far future. Moreover, whether individuals’ responses result in adaptation—i.e., increased welfare and suitability to the environment—is born out over time. Despite a wealth of theories and frameworks for characterizing and explaining climate change adaptation, broadly defined, a coherent and comprehensive body of empirical research and theory regarding how and why individuals adapt is lacking. In fact, there is some skepticism about whether successful and efficient adaptation is possible at the level of individuals. A better understanding of climate change adaptation at the individual level is greatly needed. Empirical research on climate risk decision-making among individual land managers will provide important insights on this topic.

The goal of this Research Topic on climate decision-making by forest, farm, and range landowners is to contribute to scholarly understanding of whether and how adaptation occurs at the level of individuals. The papers will present empirical research findings that illuminate features and factors of individual adaptation and test assumptions about individual adaptation in the climate change literature. The papers will also discuss implications for policies and programs that aim to enable and encourage climate change adaptation among individuals.

We welcome empirical research, review, and perspectives articles. Articles should address climate-related decision making and management behavior by individual (as opposed to institutional) owners and managers of lands that produce food, fiber, and other ecosystem services of importance to society. Decision making and behaviors can be in response to global trends in temperature, precipitation, and other climate variables, as well as local stressors and events that are exacerbated by global climate trends.


Keywords: climate risk management, risk mitigation, individual level, climate change, local scale, climate adaptation, welfare, decision-making, climate decision-making


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

As climate change drives increasingly frequent and severe storms, droughts, wildfires, and pest and disease outbreaks, individuals must decide how to reduce risk to themeselves and their livelihoods. Individuals whose livelihoods directly depend on farming, forestry, and ranching arguably have great stake in managing land to reduce risk, as well as substantial capacity.

Climate risk management is nevertheless fraught with challenges for individuals. Climate change is a complex set of stressors that interact within and across scales, with uncertain impacts at local levels, and individuals have trouble making rational decisions under conditions of uncertainty and complexity. At some scales, climate-driven changes are particularly difficult for individuals to perceive and respond to, for example incremental increases in temperature at the global level or local sea rise in the far future. Moreover, whether individuals’ responses result in adaptation—i.e., increased welfare and suitability to the environment—is born out over time. Despite a wealth of theories and frameworks for characterizing and explaining climate change adaptation, broadly defined, a coherent and comprehensive body of empirical research and theory regarding how and why individuals adapt is lacking. In fact, there is some skepticism about whether successful and efficient adaptation is possible at the level of individuals. A better understanding of climate change adaptation at the individual level is greatly needed. Empirical research on climate risk decision-making among individual land managers will provide important insights on this topic.

The goal of this Research Topic on climate decision-making by forest, farm, and range landowners is to contribute to scholarly understanding of whether and how adaptation occurs at the level of individuals. The papers will present empirical research findings that illuminate features and factors of individual adaptation and test assumptions about individual adaptation in the climate change literature. The papers will also discuss implications for policies and programs that aim to enable and encourage climate change adaptation among individuals.

We welcome empirical research, review, and perspectives articles. Articles should address climate-related decision making and management behavior by individual (as opposed to institutional) owners and managers of lands that produce food, fiber, and other ecosystem services of importance to society. Decision making and behaviors can be in response to global trends in temperature, precipitation, and other climate variables, as well as local stressors and events that are exacerbated by global climate trends.


Keywords: climate risk management, risk mitigation, individual level, climate change, local scale, climate adaptation, welfare, decision-making, climate decision-making


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 February 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 February 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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