A participatory approach to understanding the impact of multiple natural hazards in communities along the Ba River, Fiji

Gracie Irvine, Natasha Pauli, Renata Varea, Bryan Boruff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The Ba River catchment and delta on the island of Viti Levu, Fiji, supports a
wealth of livelihoods and is populated by diverse communities who are living with an increased frequency and intensity of hydro-meteorological hazards (floods, cyclones and droughts). Participatory mapping as part of focus group discussions is a tool that can be used to elucidate communities’ understanding of the differing impacts of multiple hazards, as well as the strategies used to prepare and respond to different hazards. In this chapter, the authors present the results of qualitative research undertaken with members of three communities along the Ba River, from the Nausori highlands to the coastal mangroves, with a particular focus on recent floods (2009, 2012) and Tropical Cyclone Winston (2016). The communities draw on a wide range of livelihood strategies from fishing and agriculture to tourism and outside work. Natural hazard events vary in their impact on these livelihood strategies across the landscape and seascape, so that community members can adjust their activities accordingly. The temporal ‘signatures’ of ongoing impacts are also variable across communities and resources. The results suggest that taking a broad, landscape (and seascape) approach to understanding how communities draw livelihoods is valuable in informing effective and inclusive adaptation strategies for environmental change. Furthermore, documenting how the landscape is used in a mapped output may be a valuable tool for future social impact assessment for resource extraction activities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate-Induced Disasters in the Asia-Pacific Region
Subtitle of host publicationResponse, Recovery, Adaptation
EditorsAndreas Neef, Natasha Pauli
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781839099885
ISBN (Print)9781839099878
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameCommunity, Environment and Disaster Risk Management
ISSN (Print)2040-7262
ISSN (Electronic)2040-7270


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