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What is autonomous adaption? Resource scarcity and smallholder agency in Thailand

Forsyth, Tim ORCID: 0000-0001-7227-9475 and Evans, Natalie (2013) What is autonomous adaption? Resource scarcity and smallholder agency in Thailand. World Development, 43. pp. 56-66. ISSN 0305-750X

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2012.11.010


The concept of autonomous adaptation is widely used to describe spontaneous acts of reducing risks posed by resource scarcity and, increasingly, climate change. Critics, however, have claimed it is unproven, or simplifies the agency by which smallholders respond to risk. This paper presents empirical research in eight Karen villages in Thailand to identify how resource scarcity is linked to adaptive responses including livelihood diversification. The paper argues that autonomous adaptation is driven by how environmental change and scarcity present livelihood risks, rather than physical risks alone. Adaptation planning therefore should acknowledge different experiences of risk, and socio-economic barriers to adaptation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Elsevier B.V
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2013 09:32
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:01
Funders: Big Lottery Fund, Karen Hilltribes Trust

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