Priming the Governance System for Climate Change Adaptation: The Application of a Social Ecological Inventory (SEI) to Engage Actors in Niagara, Canada
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Adaptive systems of governance are increasingly gaining attention in respect to complex and uncertain social-ecological systems. Adaptive co-management is one strategy to make adaptive governance operational and holds promise with respect to community climate change adaptation as it facilitates participation and learning across scales and fosters adaptive capacity and resilience. Developing tools which hasten the realization of such approaches are growing in importance. This paper describes explores the Social Ecological Inventory (SEI) as a tool to 'prime' a regional climate change adaptation network. The SEI tool draws upon the social-ecological systems approach in which social and ecological systems are considered linked. SEIs bridge the gap between conventional stakeholder analysis and biological inventories and take place through a six phase process. A case study describes the results of applying an SEI to prime an adaptive governance network for climate change adaptation in the Niagara Region of Canada. Lessons learned from the case study are discussed and highlight how the SEI catalyzed the adaptive co-management process in the case. Future avenues for SEIs in relation to climate change adaptation emerge from this exploratory work and offer opportunities to inform research and adaptation planning.