Household perceptions of coastal hazards and climate change in the Central Philippines

Article appearing in Journal of Environmental Management. Volume 112.

  • Co-Author:
  • Patrick Christie with Chelsea Combest-Friedman and Edward Miles
  • Date: December, 2012

As a tropical archipelagic nation, the Philippines is particularly susceptible to coastal hazards, which are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. To improve coastal hazard management and adaptation planning, it is imperative that climate information be provided at relevant scales and that decision-makers understand the causes and nature of risk in their constituencies. Focusing on a municipality in the Central Philippines, this study examines local meteorological information and explores household perceptions of climate change and coastal hazard risk. First, meteorological data and local perceptions of changing climate conditions are assessed. Perceived changes in climate include an increase in rainfall and rainfall variability, an increase in intensity and frequency of storm events and sea level rise. Second, factors affecting climate change perceptions and perceived risk from coastal hazards are determined through statistical analysis. Factors tested include social status, economic standing, resource dependency and spatial location. Results indicate that perceived risk to coastal hazards is most affected by households’ spatial location and resource dependency, rather than socio-economic conditions. However, important differences exist based on the type of hazard and nature of risk being measured. Resource dependency variables are more significant in determining perceived risk from coastal erosion and sea level rise than flood events. Spatial location is most significant in determining households’ perceived risk to their household assets, but not perceived risk to their livelihood.