El Niño: an adaptive response to build social and ecological resilience

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Experience from adaptive and community-based resource management suggests that building resilience into both human and ecological systems is an effective way to cope with environmental change. El Niño phenomena are increasingly signalled in advance of their onset. We argue that it is beneficial to heed warnings of potential harm and to intervene in society to foster adaptations that might avert extreme negative ecological and social impacts which can trigger socio-political stress and widespread human suffering. The El Niño of 2004 in the island province of Bohol in the Philippines is used as an example of a successful intervention.