Coastal vulnerability to climate change in Cornwall, United Kingdom

Resource System
Terrestrial (including coastal and riparian) landscapes; associated watersheds and topography
Resource Units
Urban/rural/agricultural spaces, freshwater, biodiversity

Cornwall is located in southwest England on the Cornish peninsula. It stretches between the cities of Bude and Plymouth in the north and Penzance and Falmouth in the south. The study area encompasses numerous communities of various sizes in the coastal and inland areas, including within the Tamar catchment along the rivers Camel, Fowey, Looe, as well as coastal lagoons and basins, and a mix of freshwater and brackish wetlands. The Cornwall study site is catalogued by an action arena in which: (1) governance structures wrestle with conflicting biodiversity and anthropogenic goals; while (2) government austerity measures and lack of aggregation rules result in temporal policy tradeoffs and impede attempts at creating polycentric governance structures (inferred); and (3) dual socio-economic structures and global climate change undermine social and biophysical cohesion.

This case study represents one of three coastal social-ecological systems (SESs) examined in collaboration with researchers in Britain, France, and South Africa as part of the Multi-Scale Adaptations to Climate Change and Social-Ecological Sustainability in Coastal Areas (MAGIC) research project funded by a Belmont grant.  Information on the two other case studies, as well a comparative analysis of  all three SESs can be found by following the "Related Studies and Models" link below.