AQ: Australian Quarterly
Adaptive pathways mapping
The Adaptive Pathways approach recognises that, over medium to long timeframes, policies and decisions may eventually fail to meet coastal management objectives and thus need to be adjusted or replaced. The approach involves a network of interlinked pathways which set out: how to meet objectives, the conditions where each pathway will result in a failed outcome, and the associated decision points.
When a trigger point is reached (such as when a sea-level rise threshold is exceeded or if the frequency of a hazard event surpasses an acceptable threshold), additional or different actions may be implemented in order to continue on the planned pathway, or an alternative may need to be considered which may ultimately result in a change in pathway.
Through this approach, an adaptive plan that includes a mix of short-term actions and long-term options can be developed that can result in more targeted interventions and expenditure and a more strategic and considered approach to managing the coast.
The image above provides an example of an adaptation pathway showing the historic management pathway and three future coastal management option pathways with two thresholds for adaptation and transfer points that delineate changes from one adaptation pathway to another. The image also shows an alternative pathway that reduces future risk by planning to avoid hazard exposure.