Adaptive society in a changing environment: Insight into the social resilience of a rural region of Taiwan

Yi Chang Chiang, Fen Fang Tsai, Han Pi Chang, Chi Farn Chen, Yi Chia Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Taiwan has abundant biological resources that provide a quality living environment; however, industrial land use may change that environment through urban sprawl and thus have impacts on rural society. This study examined the experience of a Taiwanese rural region that has been exposed to industrial wastewater discharge specifying the relationship of industrial development to rural society and its role in policy. We addressed the societal adaptation to environmental degradation from risk perception perspectives about land use. Drawing on social vulnerability concept, semi-structured interviews were conducted in five communities that use irrigation water exposed to wastewater discharge. The interviews were designed using the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) causal framework to examine residents' risk perceptions highlighting both built-environmental sensitivity (degradation) and residents' adaptability (capacity). In addition, remote sensing technology was used to identify the urban sprawl that led to industrial land use and exposed the rural region to water pollution risks. As a result, we present a social resilience cycle to introduce adaptive responses underlining social amplification of risk. Both local knowledge of the locals (the Hakka people) and their societal response to environmental change reflect the role of culture in influencing land use policy. It is underlined that individual and community responses shape the social experience of risk and are related to both the ethnicity of the locals and the land use policy of the government. We indicated further that a large-scale survey that would really quantity this exploratory study to support land use decision-making is expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-521
Number of pages12
JournalLand Use Policy
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Adaptability
  • Community
  • Hakka
  • Land use
  • Resilience


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