Advanced

‘The Lot of the Farmer’ : climate change adaptation in the Victorian wine industry

Dean, Rhianna (2013) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM01 20132
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
In recent years there has been significant research conducted into how predicted climate change scenarios could negatively impact wine grape quality across various regions in the world. This has highlighted the particularly vulnerable state of the wine industry to climate change, and the important role research in this area can play in identifying new knowledge and conceptual frameworks regarding broader climate change adaptation behaviour in agriculture.

In this thesis, I explored what climate change adaptation looks like in the context of the Victorian wine industry. Using a framework influenced by current theories of resilience and vulnerability, I identified the important role practical actions play in contributing to adaptive... (More)
In recent years there has been significant research conducted into how predicted climate change scenarios could negatively impact wine grape quality across various regions in the world. This has highlighted the particularly vulnerable state of the wine industry to climate change, and the important role research in this area can play in identifying new knowledge and conceptual frameworks regarding broader climate change adaptation behaviour in agriculture.

In this thesis, I explored what climate change adaptation looks like in the context of the Victorian wine industry. Using a framework influenced by current theories of resilience and vulnerability, I identified the important role practical actions play in contributing to adaptive capacity. Through the use of existing literature and six semi-structured interviews, I identified a comprehensive inventory of adaptation actions that are available to the wine industry. I designed and administered an online survey of 86 Victorians working in wine businesses to assess their current practices and future priorities regarding the adaptation actions, and whether various factors, such as climate change perceptions and business size, influence the implementation of these actions.

The survey revealed evidence of a diverse range of adaptation actions taking place across the wine industry adaptation domains of site selection, planting, winemaking, business, and utility decisions. When looking at future adaptation priorities, there appear to be strong tendencies towards improving energy efficiency; incorporating organic and biodynamic techniques into vineyard management; using social media as a means to strengthen business; and diversifying the potential revenue-raising activities that take place at a business site. However, the overwhelming majority of respondents have not used in the past, and do not prioritise using in the future, adaptations including relocating to new locations, altering their planting practices, or using technological fixes to environmental stressors (with the exception of water management).

Demographic factors influenced the adaptation actions undertaken. Individuals who reported a perception that climate change will have a negative impact on business were more likely to have implemented and also planned more adaptation actions. Interestingly, the perception that climate change will have a positive impact was also associated with an increase in actions implemented. This could indicate that actions are being undertaken to take advantage of 'positive' impacts of climate change, and that actors who have an opinion on climate change are also more likely to be pro-active with implementing new actions. Business size also played an important role in adaptation actions, with larger businesses more likely to implement adaptation actions than those managed by individuals who perceived that climate change is happening, human caused and will have a negative impact on business. This implies that financial resources are an important barrier to adaptation, if individuals who believe climate change is a problem are unable to act on this belief due to financial constraints.

The data collected illustrate a willingness of actors to engage in adaptive actions that relate to both biophysical and business strategies when facing increased vulnerability and change. Farm-scale actors are pro-actively engaging with their value chains and consumers — they are not simply sensitive to these systems, they are active participants in them. Future research and agricultural climate change adaptation policies will need to increasingly recognise this, particularly when mapping vulnerability and resilience. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Dean, Rhianna
supervisor
organization
course
MESM01 20132
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
agriculture, Australia, business Management, climate adjustment, resilience, viticulture, sustainability science
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2013:034
language
English
id
4780717
date added to LUP
2014-11-19 16:21:02
date last changed
2014-11-19 16:21:02
@misc{4780717,
  abstract     = {In recent years there has been significant research conducted into how predicted climate change scenarios could negatively impact wine grape quality across various regions in the world. This has highlighted the particularly vulnerable state of the wine industry to climate change, and the important role research in this area can play in identifying new knowledge and conceptual frameworks regarding broader climate change adaptation behaviour in agriculture.

In this thesis, I explored what climate change adaptation looks like in the context of the Victorian wine industry. Using a framework influenced by current theories of resilience and vulnerability, I identified the important role practical actions play in contributing to adaptive capacity. Through the use of existing literature and six semi-structured interviews, I identified a comprehensive inventory of adaptation actions that are available to the wine industry. I designed and administered an online survey of 86 Victorians working in wine businesses to assess their current practices and future priorities regarding the adaptation actions, and whether various factors, such as climate change perceptions and business size, influence the implementation of these actions.

The survey revealed evidence of a diverse range of adaptation actions taking place across the wine industry adaptation domains of site selection, planting, winemaking, business, and utility decisions. When looking at future adaptation priorities, there appear to be strong tendencies towards improving energy efficiency; incorporating organic and biodynamic techniques into vineyard management; using social media as a means to strengthen business; and diversifying the potential revenue-raising activities that take place at a business site. However, the overwhelming majority of respondents have not used in the past, and do not prioritise using in the future, adaptations including relocating to new locations, altering their planting practices, or using technological fixes to environmental stressors (with the exception of water management).

Demographic factors influenced the adaptation actions undertaken. Individuals who reported a perception that climate change will have a negative impact on business were more likely to have implemented and also planned more adaptation actions. Interestingly, the perception that climate change will have a positive impact was also associated with an increase in actions implemented. This could indicate that actions are being undertaken to take advantage of 'positive' impacts of climate change, and that actors who have an opinion on climate change are also more likely to be pro-active with implementing new actions. Business size also played an important role in adaptation actions, with larger businesses more likely to implement adaptation actions than those managed by individuals who perceived that climate change is happening, human caused and will have a negative impact on business. This implies that financial resources are an important barrier to adaptation, if individuals who believe climate change is a problem are unable to act on this belief due to financial constraints.

The data collected illustrate a willingness of actors to engage in adaptive actions that relate to both biophysical and business strategies when facing increased vulnerability and change. Farm-scale actors are pro-actively engaging with their value chains and consumers — they are not simply sensitive to these systems, they are active participants in them. Future research and agricultural climate change adaptation policies will need to increasingly recognise this, particularly when mapping vulnerability and resilience.},
  author       = {Dean, Rhianna},
  keyword      = {agriculture,Australia,business Management,climate adjustment,resilience,viticulture,sustainability science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {‘The Lot of the Farmer’ : climate change adaptation in the Victorian wine industry},
  year         = {2013},
}