Limits to coastal adaptation in Samoa: Insights and experiences

Richard Crichton*, Miguel Esteban

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Small Island States have been identified as some of the planet’s most vulnerable countries, with increases in global atmospheric temperatures and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere being predicted to lead to a mass extinction and/or migration of coral species and fisheries resources. Rising ocean surface temperatures and the increasing acidity of the oceans (through absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) will likely cause significant mortality in coral reef systems, which are expected to increase tropical island vulnerability to natural disasters and coastal erosion. Storm surges and sea level rise also affect fresh water supplies and impact coastal communities, cultural heritage and infrastructure. The impact on food security and livelihoods of people in Pacific Islands is likely to be enormous, and SIDS have been encouraged to improve adaptation measures to reduce the environmental and socio-economic impacts caused by natural disasters and climate change. A transformational adaptation approach, as highlighted in the latest IPCC AR5 report, will be essential when addressing vulnerability and the adaptive capacity of Small Island States in the Pacific. On the ground experience highlights a need for a tailored approach when designing disaster risk management strategies to address the impacts of climate change, though current problems highlight the limitations and effectiveness of these adaptation projects. The present chapter will highlight case studies from the Islands of Samoa and current adaptation efforts and their limitations, highlighting the traditional characteristics of such adaptation measures. The overall purpose of this chapter is to facilitate discussion on what can be done to address the identified limitations to the development of Small Island States and outline possible future adaptation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change Management
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameClimate Change Management
ISSN (Print)1610-2002
ISSN (Electronic)1610-2010


  • Climate change adaptation
  • Coastal defences
  • Oceans
  • Reefs
  • Samoa
  • Sea level rise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Ecology


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