Tribal Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation: Identifying the Impact of Fractionated Land for a Coastal Community JUNE 8, 2015 A
Watkinson, Melissa K.
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Coastal Washington tribes are experiencing loss of land due to sea level rise (SLR), flooding, and land erosion as a result of global climate change. However, consolidating fractionated lands through the Land Buy Back (LBB) program may build the capacity for tribal governments to make decisions regarding adaptation to the loss of land. This study used a case study research design to address one primary research question: (1) How can consolidating fractionated land through the LBB program increase the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) tribal government’s capacity to adapt to the impacts caused by climate change?; and one community identified needs question: (2) What is the least costly emergency evacuation route for the QIN community, and how is this route affected by fractionated land? Using secondary spatial data, a spatial analysis was conducted to identify the extent to which land that is suitable for future development on the Quinault reservation is fractionated, where suitability is defined as areas that (a) are outside of climate change vulnerability to SLR and flooding, (b) has a slope degree of 20 or less, and (c) lie outside of cultural lands identified by the community as inappropriate for disturbance. An additional analysis was conducted, using the same criteria, to identify the most cost-effective emergency evacuation route. Lastly, this study interviewed QIN experts to find how the results of the spatial analyses can enable QIN to make decisions about climate change adaptation. Consolidating fractionated land through the LBB program can increase the adaptive capacity for tribes impacted by climate change. Additional funding and similar consolidation programs should further be made available to tribes that have fractionated land on their reservations and who are vulnerable to climate change impacts.
- MA in Policy Studies