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E&S Home > Vol. 26, Iss. 4 > Art. 10 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Drawing on diverse knowledge systems to enhance local climate understanding in the southern Cape, South Africa

Catherine D. Ward, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Georgina Cundill, International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada
Guy F. Midgley, School for Climate Studies, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Astrid Jarre, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa


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By overlaying terrestrial and marine perspectives, we examine complex system change at the local scale of the southern Cape and Agulhas Bank in South Africa through placing different knowledge bases on climate variability alongside each other. This research adds insights into how social components of complex systems interact with environmental change and contributes to confirming environmental regime shifts in the research area; identifying knowledge disconnects for ecosystem services linked to terrestrial water availability; and highlights scale disconnects in fisher observations in near- and off-shore change. The benefits of examining these diverse bodies of knowledge in parallel across terrestrial and marine systems are evident in the synergies and disconnects that emerge from our integrative approach. Although impossible to eliminate uncertainty around projected climate variability and change, this multi-evidence base strengthens advice for evidence-based, strategic decision making that is locally relevant. The methodology pursued adds to the global learning on overlaying multiple bodies of knowledge in support of sustainability.

Key words

Agulhas Bank; Benguela; climate variability; knowledge systems; marine; social-ecological systems; terrestrial

Copyright © 2021 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087