"We Got in the Pilot Program to Learn from It": Features of Social Learning in Drought Contexts along the Arkansas River in Colorado

Lisa Dilling, Rebecca Morss, Olga Wilhelmi, Ursula Rick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Unintended consequences from decisions made in one part of a social–ecological system in response to climate hazards can magnify vulnerabilities for others in the same system. Yet anticipating or identifying these cascades and spillovers in real time is difficult. Social learning is an important component of adaptation that has the ability to facilitate adaptive capacity by mobilizing multiple actors around a common resource to manage collectively in ways that build local knowledge, reflective practices, and a broader understanding of contexts for decisions. While the foundations of social learning in resource management have been theorized in the literature, empirical examples of unintended consequences that trigger social learning are few. This article analyzes two cases of drought decisions made along the Arkansas River basin in Colorado; in each, social learning occurred after actors experienced unanticipated impacts from others’ decisions. Methods include interviews with actors,
Original languageEnglish
JournalWeather Climate and Society
StatePublished - Nov 2021

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