Maps, Knowledge and Resilience: Application of ArcGIS in Building Small Islands’ Resilience to Climate Change
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Small, low-lying islands are one of the most vulnerable social-ecological systems to climate change. Inundation caused by storm surges and sea level rise makes habitability a serious concern for islanders. This chapter explores how co-production of knowledge through a collaborative local and scientific inquiry could contribute to small islands’ resilience to climate change. Experience suggests that knowledge co-production, mediated by mapping, in particular socially critical application of geographic information systems (GIS), can enhance islanders’ ability to cope with climate-related perturbations. Valuing islanders’ accumulated experience of coping with past climate change periods and better understanding knowledge creation processes related to the currently unfolding climate change are recognised as important elements of local adaptation to climate change. Diversifying epistemological perspectives through engaging local and scientific methodologies in knowledge co-production is expected to facilitate spatial and temporal pattern recognition, a key component of early warning systems. Despite the merits, collaborative inquiries, however, are still uncommon. Key points are illustrated by case material from the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India, and other small islands of the Indian and Pacific Ocean.