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What does successful adaptation look like? This is a question we are frequently asked by planners, managers, and other professionals charged with the task of developing and implementing adaptation strategies. It is a question that has no easy scientific or political answers. While adaptation is increasingly recognized as an important climate risk management strategy, complementary to mitigation, and on-the-ground adaptation planning activity is beginning to emerge everywhere, resource managers and planners have no clear guidance as to what success would look like, and thus what to aim for or how to judge progress. This edited volume makes significant progress toward unpacking the question of successful adaptation and offering both scientifically informed and practice-relevant answers from various sectors and regions of the world. Importantly, we approach this challenge from the assumption that there is not one answer, as the question of success in important ways is normative and context-specific. It is possible, however, to illuminate the different dimensions of this question and to make rational arguments for important elements of successful adaptation by drawing on the extant literature, expert judgment (i.e., that of our contributing authors), and practical experience.We appraise how climatic and non-climatic stressors play a role, how scientific and policy understanding as well as empirical grounding has informed climate adaptation decision-making, and how perceptions of trade-offs and priorities with other concerns shape adaptation planning and implementation on the ground. The overarching objective and vision of this edited volume is to shed light on key issues that arise in on-the-ground adaptation to climate change across a range of geographic areas and sectors and where linkages between science and practice play a central role. The volume is principally authored by social science/human dimensions authors, and is a necessarily and deeply multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary project.