The objective of this study is to examine the effectiveness of adaptation. We reviewed and thematically synthesized 42 household-level studies published from 2000–2019 to explain how multiple processes interact to affect the effectiveness of adaptation. The findings show the positive impacts of adaptation in increasing crop yields and income, improving food security, and enhancing environmental protection. Not all adaptation strategies are effective, due partly to differences in sensitivity to climate problems, access to livelihood assets, diversification of adaptation strategies, and flexibility and cultural relevance of institutional support. For households with lower adaptive capacity, limited adaptation choices and reliance on climate-sensitive strategies fail to unshackle them from cyclical vulnerability. Improving adaptive capacity and facilitating diversified adaptation strategies are important to address the livelihood challenges of smallholder farmers. Understanding the complexities underlying the effectiveness of adaptation necessitates evaluation focusing on multidimensional livelihood outcomes to disentangle implications for sustainable livelihoods and socio-ecological resilience.
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- adaptive capacity
- impact assessment