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Introduction to “In Focus: Global Change and Adaptation in Local Places”

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ABSTRACT  In recognition of unavoidable changes that human actions are producing in our environment, the term adaptation has become ubiquitous in the environmental and climate-change literature. Human adaptation is a field with a significant history in anthropology, yet anthropological contributions to the burgeoning field of climate change remain limited. This “In Focus” section presents studies of local adaptations to climate variation and change. Each is concerned with current environmental challenges and future environmental change, and each study is placed within a wider context that includes processes of globalization and integration into market economies, formal and informal institutions, and disasters. These studies highlight the challenges involved in understanding complex adaptations under conditions of stress. They also illustrate how anthropologists engage the larger climate-change and human-adaptation discussions and enhance our ability to respond to the challenges of a changing environment.

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