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Table 1 Common conceptual differentiations of climate change adaptation

From: The full spectrum of climate change adaptation: testing an analytical framework in Tyrolean mountain agriculture (Austria)


Differentiation between

Differentiation between

Reactive CCA

Anticipatory CCA

Autonomous/spontaneous CCA

Planned CCA

Fankhauser et al. (1999)

Reactive measures are those that institutions, individuals, plants and animals are likely to make in response to climate change, after the fact

Anticipatory adaptations are deliberate decisions to prepare for potential effects of climate change. They are taken in advance of climate change, before the fact

Natural or spontaneous adjustments in the face of a changing climate

Planned adaptation requires conscious intervention

Malik et al. (2010)

Adaptation that takes place after impacts of climate change have been observed

Adaptation that takes place before impacts of climate change are observed. Also referred to as proactive adaptation

Adaptation that does not constitute a conscious response to climatic stimuli, but is triggered by ecological changes in natural systems and by market or welfare changes in human systems

Adaptation that is the result of a deliberative policy decision, based on an awareness that conditions have changed or are about to change and that action is required to return to, to maintain, or to achieve a desired state

Smit et al. (2000)


Adaptations which occur in systems as a matter of course

Those that require or result from deliberate “policy decisions”. Planned adaptations may be distinguished by the intent and timing of the initiative

Füssel (2007)

…after some impacts have been experienced


Planned adaptation means the use of information about present and future cc to review the suitability of current and planned practices, policies, and infrastructure