Prioritisation for Adaptation in Tropical Forest Ecosystems
Under natural resource ecosystems shared across communities and nations, the distribution among stakeholders of risks and vulnerability to climate change is likely to be uneven on account of the nature of their stakes in the ecosystems, the degree of their dependence and the extent of degradation of the natural resources. Striving for a common adaptation strategy that safeguards the shared forest ecosystems and balances the interests of the multiple stakeholders would require a framework that encourages sharing and redistribution of ecosystem benefits and sharing of the potential climate risks and impacts on forests and stakeholders, taking into account the vulnerabilities of both ecosystems and people. This will constitute an important first step in reducing the burden of climate change on the weak and most vulnerable. Such a framework would also guide the decision making process, aid in redefining future activities especially when the risk situation changes, and help connect adaptation to sustainable national and regional development programmes through prioritisation of possible adaptation activities. This paper uses the experiences gained under the Tropical Forests and Climate Change Adaptation project of the Center for International Forest Research across three continents to propose a priority setting process with active participation of multiple stakeholders in tropical ecosystems in developing countries perceived in their judgement to be crucial for adaptation to climate change. By attributing values to forest ecosystem goods and services for all stakeholders, prioritisation represents a common position by multiple stakeholders linking their interests and practices for a common purpose.