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Table 2

Climate change adaptation options and links to specific climate impacts

Adaptation optionClimate change impactLinks to Pacific context
Infrastructure 
Protective infrastructure such as levees, tidal gates and sea walls Increased flood risk, sea-level rise Steep catchments and sparse population densities unlikely to provide good cost benefit ratios in many catchments. Risks of maladaptation if not properly designed (Piggott-McKellar et al. 2020) 
Climate resilient drinking water infrastructure ENSO, flood risk, drought risk, sea-level rise Refer to Table 3 
Household 
Building houses on stilts to reduce vulnerability to flooding Flood risk This option is likely to align well with importance of ancestral links to land in Pacific cultures (see ‘Culture’ and ‘Land’ sections) 
Local materials for houses to allow quick rebuilding after disaster and/or designed to not be damaged in a cyclone Tropical cyclones, flood risk ‘Modern’ houses may be preferred and require money and time for rebuilding and there is limited building insurance (Weir et al. 2017). Need to be properly designed for resilience. Use of local materials important for ongoing maintenance (McNamara et al. 2020) particularly post-disaster 
Innovative water storage practices ENSO and drought risk Refer to Table 3 
Rainwater tanks provide buffers against seasonal (or longer) droughts ENSO and drought risk Refer to Table 3 
Preparing for extreme weather events by using particular plantinga Tropical cyclones Rural communities are often based around subsistence farming and hold deep TK regarding these practices. Urbanisation pressures in the Pacific mean that younger generations may not have the same knowledge (Weir et al. 2017). 
TK of diversity of crops with some having drought resistance and others prolonged dry spellsa ENSO and changes in seasonal rainfall patterns Rural communities are often based around subsistence farming and hold deep TK regarding these practices. Urbanisation pressures in the Pacific mean that younger generations may not have the same knowledge (Weir et al. 2017). 
New crops and agricultural products (e.g. pigs, chickens and beehives) ENSO, increased rainfall, tropical cyclones Diversity of income for subsistence farmers to protect climate extremes. Reported perverse outcomes from pig projects due to high status linked to their ownership (McNamara et al. 2020) and poor understanding of cultural context 
Preservation of crops – fermentation or storagea Tropical cyclones Rural communities are often based around subsistence farming and hold deep TK regarding these practices. Urbanisation pressures in the Pacific mean that younger generations may not have the same knowledge (Weir et al. 2017) 
Land-use change 
Managed retreat and relocation, floodplain planning Increased flood risk, sea-level rise Strong ancestral links to land and land tenure structures affect the viability of this option (see the ‘Land’ section). Rapid urbanisation and poor institutional planning around informal settlements pose particular risks for floodplain planning (see the ‘Urbanisation’ section) 
Institutional 
ENSO prediction (seasonal forecasting) ENSO TK of climate variability in the Pacific can be leveraged in improving communication of seasonal forecasts and understanding local impacts (see the ‘Traditional knowledge’ section) 
Flood forecasting systems Increased flood risk, sea-level rise Collective nature of Pacific culture can improve understanding of exposure to hydrological hazards and estimates of risk (see the ‘Culture’ section). TK, e.g. environmental changes seen prior to imminent rain can be leveraged in improving community preparedness (see the ‘Tradional knowledge’ section) 
Tropical cyclone outlooks Tropical cyclones, sea-level rise Example of TK of tropical cyclones and resulting better preparation attributed to low death rate from Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu (see the ‘Traditional knowledge’ section) 
Adaptation optionClimate change impactLinks to Pacific context
Infrastructure 
Protective infrastructure such as levees, tidal gates and sea walls Increased flood risk, sea-level rise Steep catchments and sparse population densities unlikely to provide good cost benefit ratios in many catchments. Risks of maladaptation if not properly designed (Piggott-McKellar et al. 2020) 
Climate resilient drinking water infrastructure ENSO, flood risk, drought risk, sea-level rise Refer to Table 3 
Household 
Building houses on stilts to reduce vulnerability to flooding Flood risk This option is likely to align well with importance of ancestral links to land in Pacific cultures (see ‘Culture’ and ‘Land’ sections) 
Local materials for houses to allow quick rebuilding after disaster and/or designed to not be damaged in a cyclone Tropical cyclones, flood risk ‘Modern’ houses may be preferred and require money and time for rebuilding and there is limited building insurance (Weir et al. 2017). Need to be properly designed for resilience. Use of local materials important for ongoing maintenance (McNamara et al. 2020) particularly post-disaster 
Innovative water storage practices ENSO and drought risk Refer to Table 3 
Rainwater tanks provide buffers against seasonal (or longer) droughts ENSO and drought risk Refer to Table 3 
Preparing for extreme weather events by using particular plantinga Tropical cyclones Rural communities are often based around subsistence farming and hold deep TK regarding these practices. Urbanisation pressures in the Pacific mean that younger generations may not have the same knowledge (Weir et al. 2017). 
TK of diversity of crops with some having drought resistance and others prolonged dry spellsa ENSO and changes in seasonal rainfall patterns Rural communities are often based around subsistence farming and hold deep TK regarding these practices. Urbanisation pressures in the Pacific mean that younger generations may not have the same knowledge (Weir et al. 2017). 
New crops and agricultural products (e.g. pigs, chickens and beehives) ENSO, increased rainfall, tropical cyclones Diversity of income for subsistence farmers to protect climate extremes. Reported perverse outcomes from pig projects due to high status linked to their ownership (McNamara et al. 2020) and poor understanding of cultural context 
Preservation of crops – fermentation or storagea Tropical cyclones Rural communities are often based around subsistence farming and hold deep TK regarding these practices. Urbanisation pressures in the Pacific mean that younger generations may not have the same knowledge (Weir et al. 2017) 
Land-use change 
Managed retreat and relocation, floodplain planning Increased flood risk, sea-level rise Strong ancestral links to land and land tenure structures affect the viability of this option (see the ‘Land’ section). Rapid urbanisation and poor institutional planning around informal settlements pose particular risks for floodplain planning (see the ‘Urbanisation’ section) 
Institutional 
ENSO prediction (seasonal forecasting) ENSO TK of climate variability in the Pacific can be leveraged in improving communication of seasonal forecasts and understanding local impacts (see the ‘Traditional knowledge’ section) 
Flood forecasting systems Increased flood risk, sea-level rise Collective nature of Pacific culture can improve understanding of exposure to hydrological hazards and estimates of risk (see the ‘Culture’ section). TK, e.g. environmental changes seen prior to imminent rain can be leveraged in improving community preparedness (see the ‘Tradional knowledge’ section) 
Tropical cyclone outlooks Tropical cyclones, sea-level rise Example of TK of tropical cyclones and resulting better preparation attributed to low death rate from Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu (see the ‘Traditional knowledge’ section) 

aNon engineering option not considered further in the ‘Pacific links between cultural, historical and community values with adaptation options’ section.

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