Identifying Multiple Values for Beaches and Coastlines Under Sea Level Rise

Collaborators: Makena Coffman (PI), Leah Bremer (co-PI), Sarah Wiebe (co-PI), Laurel Mei-Sign (co-PI), Charles "Chip" Fletcher (Co-I), Nori Tarui (Co-I), Alisha Summers, Billy Kinney, Quang Loc Lam, Leah Keller

Funding: National Science Foundation, Coastlines and People

From the atoll nations of Oceania to the shores of Miami Beach, sea level rise (SLR) represents a major threat to coastal ecosystems and communities. Responding to these threats requires a clear understanding of the multiple ways people use and value coastlines and design of adaptation strategies that best supports these values. This broadly collaborative research initiative, involving researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO), College of Social Sciences, the School of Ocean, Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST), and the Institute for Sustainability and Resilience, is exploring these challenges in Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. We are currently developing community-based, historical and archival, geospatial, and economic approaches for assessing historical and current changes in the multiple ways that people use and value coastlines at three specific sites on the island of Oʻahu- Kāhala, Kaʻaʻawa, and Sunset Beach.

High tide at Swanzy Beach Park in Ka'a'awa

Site visit in Kāhala, left to right: Lisa Kelley, Aida Arik, Makena Coffman, Chip Fletcher, Nori Tarui, Leah Bremer.

Sunset Beach, O'ahu

Our youngest team member @ UH Mãnoa

High tide along the windward coast of O'ahu

Coping with Food and Water Insecurity: Producing Vulnerability or Resilient Responses to the Coffee Leaf Rust Outbreak and Mesoamerican Drought?

Collaborators: Chris Bacon (PI), William Sundstrom (co-PI), Iris Stewart-Frey (co-PI), Ed Maurer (co-PI), ASDENIC

Funding: National Science Foundation, Geography and Spatial Sciences

This participatory research project explores hydro-climatic change and variability in relation to food and water access and smallholder livelihoods in northern Nicaragua. Through collaborative work, we have explored the role of local water committees and cooperatives in mediating access to food and water during a particularly severe recent drought (2014-2016). I have also been leading work to explore the linkages between climate adaptation, vulnerability and land use change in the coffee-producing highlands. This research examines shifting patterns of resource control, investment and landscape change in the context of overlapping stressors, including drought, Coffee Leaf Rust and growing levels of rural debt. This work also involved the development of open-access computational approaches for mapping complex coffee landscapes.