Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies in rural Cambodia: perceptions from flood-affected communities in Kratie

Dr Bryan Boruff1, Professor Andreas  Neef2, Mrs Sochanny HAK2, Dr Siphat  Touch3, Dr Chanrith Ngin2

1The University Of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia, 2The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, 3Ministry of Rural Development, Phnom Penh   , Cambodia


Most studies and development interventions have considered climate change adaptation and post-disaster recovery processes as two separate issues. Yet there is increasing evidence that post-disaster recovery can only be successful and sustainable when it not only restores the pre-disaster livelihood situation, but evokes long-term efforts to enhance adaptive capacities to cope with future hazards and environmental risks. As such we aim to determine the factors that enhance or constrain resilience and adaptive capacities for several Cambodian communities impacted by annual flooding and growing environmental risks.

Here we present results from Q-sort activities conducted in four agriculturally based communes situated along the Mekong River, Kratie Province. Two separate Q-sort activities were conducted in small group settings to: i) understand perceptions of, and impacts from, climatic changes and related hazards, and ii) associated coping and adaptation strategies. Consensus statements show that whilst the interplay between drought and flooding is causing increased impacts from these two hazards, floods are still perceived to provide benefits to local people. Distinguishing statements, however, highlight how the perceived causes of environmental change are nuanced and coping strategies used by each must be interpreted within the wider context of the community’s livelihood risks, vulnerability and resilience.


Bryan Boruff is a Geographer and Senior Lecturer in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Western Australia. Dr Boruff’s expertise lay in the application of GIS and Remote Sensing technologies to the study of environmental hazards. Over the past decade, Dr Boruff’s research interests have expanded to encompass a range of environmental management issues including renewable energy production, population health, sustainable livelihoods and the development of spatially enabled eResearch tools. He has extensive experience working in developing nations in a multidisciplinary settings with academic, private and government stakeholders.


The Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted, supported and defended Australian geography.

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