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Climate-Smart Conservation - Hansen, Hoffman, Drews & Mielbrecht 2009

Climate-Smart Conservation - Hansen, Hoffman, Drews & Mielbrecht 2009

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Published by cdrews
Four basic tenets are essential in climate-change adaptation for conservation: protect adequate and appropriate space, reduce nonclimate stresses, use adaptive management to implement and test climate-change adaptation strategies, and work to reduce the rate and extent of climate change to reduce overall risk. This is illustrated with case studies.
Four basic tenets are essential in climate-change adaptation for conservation: protect adequate and appropriate space, reduce nonclimate stresses, use adaptive management to implement and test climate-change adaptation strategies, and work to reduce the rate and extent of climate change to reduce overall risk. This is illustrated with case studies.

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Published by: cdrews on Feb 14, 2010
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 Special Section
Designing Climate-Smart Conservation: Guidanceand Case Studies
EcoAdapt, P.O. Box 9767, Washington, D.C. 20016-9767, U.S.A.†WWF Central America Regional Programme Office, P.O. Box 629-2350, San Francisco de Dos R´ıos, San Jose, Costa Rica
To be successful, conservation practitioners and resource managers must fully integrate the effectsof climate change into all planning projects. Some conservation practitioners are beginning to develop, test,and implement new approaches that are designed to deal with climate change. We devised four basic tenetsthat are essential in climate-change adaptation for conservation: protect adequate and appropriate space,reduce nonclimate stresses, use adaptive management to implement and test climate-change adaptation strategies, and work to reduce the rate and extent of climate change to reduce overall risk. To illustratehow this approach applies in the real world, we explored case studies of coral reefs in the Florida Keys;mangrove forests in Fiji, Tanzania, and Cameroon; sea-level rise and sea turtles in the Caribbean; tigers inthe Sundarbans of India; and national planning in Madagascar. Through implementation of these tenetsconservation efforts in each of these regions can be made more robust in the face of climate change. Althoughthese approaches require reconsidering some traditional approaches to conservation, this new paradigm istechnologically, economically, and intellectually feasible.
adaptation,adaptivemanagement,climatechange,coralreef,mangroveforest,resilience,seaturtle,tiger Dise˜no de Conservaci´on Considerando el Clima: Directrices y Estudios de Caso
Para ser exitosos, los practicantes de la conservac´ on y los manejadores de recursos debenintegrar los efectos del cambio clim´ atico en todos los proyectos de planificaci ´ on. Algunos practicantes de laconservaci ´ on est ´ an empezando a desarrollar, probar e implementar nuevos m´ etodos dise˜ nados para hacer   frente al cambio clim´ atico. Dise˜ namos cuatro preceptos b´ asicos esenciales para la adaptar la conservaci ´ onal cambio clim´ atico: proteger espacios adecuados y apropiados, reducir los estreses no clim´ aticos, utilizar manejo adaptativo para implementar y probar estrategias de adaptaci ´ on al cambio clim´ atico y trabajar   para reducir la tasa y extensi ´ on del cambio clim´ atico para reducir el riesgo global. Para ilustrar la aplicaci ´ onde este enfoque en el mundo real, exploramos estudios de caso de arrecifes de coral en los Cayos de Florida;manglares en Fiji, Tanzania y Camer ´ un; elevaci ´ on del nivel del mar y tortugas marinas en el Caribe; Tigresen Sundarbans, India y la planificaci ´ on nacional en Madagascar. Mediante la implementaci ´ on de estos preceptos, los esfuerzos de conservaci ´ on en cada una de estas regiones pueden ser m´ as robustos a la luz del  cambio clim´ atico. Aunque estos enfoques requieren la reconsideraci ´ on de algunos m´ etodos tradicionales deconservaci ´ on, este nuevo paradigma es factible tecnol ´ ogica, econ´ omica e intelectualmente
Palabras Clave:
adaptaci´on, arrecife de coral, cambio clim´atico, manejo adaptativo, manglar, resiliencia, tigre, tortuga marina
Climate change is a fact of our times (IPCC 2007). It isalready altering ecosystems from the poles to the trop-
email lara@ecoadapt.org 
ics (Root et al. 2005; Parmesan 2006) and will do sofor decades or centuries to come. This change is hap-pening faster than originally expected (IPCC 2007; Feely et al. 2008) and faster than most managed systems have
Conservation Biology
, Volume 24, No. 1, 63–69
2009 Society for Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01404.x
Adapting Conservation to Climate Change
experienced previously (Barnosky et al. 2003). Conserva-tion must adapt to deal with this new reality.The current conservation paradigm is largely pred-icated on static spatial planning, including establish-ment of protected areas and corridors of connectivity,and designation of important habitat. Identification andprioritization of conservation areas are based on cur-rent conditions, ranges, and environmental parameters;however, climate change is turning ecosystems previ-ously viewed as stable—at least on the scale of conser- vation planning—into rapidly changing landscapes andseascapes. Approaches to conservation need to movefromaconservationparadigmdominatedlargelybystaticspatial constraints to one that incorporates temporalshifts in ecosystems and species and other extra-spatialinfluences.
 Tenets of Climate-Smart Conservation
To maintain or increase resistance and resilience of sys-temstoclimatechangeandthuscreateclimate-smartcon-servation, four basic tenets should be considered: pro-tect adequate and appropriate space, reduce nonclimatestresses, apply adaptive management to implement andtest adaptation strategies immediately, and reduce therate and extent of climate change to reduce overall risk to the conservation unit of concern. There are a numbeof frameworks for maintaining or increasing resilience of systems to climate change that have been put forward,and each has its own set of approaches. Our goal hereis not to create the definitive framework, but to presenta framework that is simple, comprehensive, and allowspractitioners to easily build on it in ways that make senseforthesystemorspecieswithwhichtheyareconcerned.
Protect Space
Protected-area design can address the probable effects of climate change in a host of ways. For example, conserva-tion plans can protect climate refugia (areas expectedto experience relatively smaller changes in climaticconditions); create corridors or networks of reservesthat allow species and organisms to move with chang-ing conditions, particularly along gradients (elevational,longitudinal, bathymetric, or climatological); protect net- works that allow for gene flow and population connec-tivity; protect or restore features such as forests thatcontribute strongly to local climatic conditions; protectmore-resilient populations; and protect heterogeneity of habitat, communities, and species (Hansen et al. 2003; West & Salm 2003; Millar et al. 2007). The overarchinggoals are to support natural processes, places, and fea-tures that minimize or mitigate effects of climate changeand, where possible, to create replicate reserves for each species or habitat of concern to guard against unantic-ipated changes. Practitioners and managers can worto determine what constitutes adequate and appropri-ate space for their particular region by considering past,present, and future effects of climate change on their re-gion as a whole and on the species that are particularly important in shaping local ecosystems (keystone preda-tors and ecosystem engineers).
Reduce Nonclimate Stresses
Climate change is not a lone stress on the systems of our natural world; rather, it occurs in concert with a hostof other stresses (e.g., habitat degradation and destruc-tion, overharvest, pollution, invasive species). Generally,already stressed ecosystems and organisms are less re-silient to climate-change effects. Further compoundingthe problem is that many stressors interact synergisti-cally with climate change, in particular increasing tem-perature, altered hydrological regimes, and altered envi-ronmental chemistry (e.g., ocean acidification). Myriadexamples in the toxicological literature demonstrate thatsuch environmental changes affect the toxicity thresholdofvariousenvironmentalpollutants(McLuskyetal.1986;Fickeetal.2007).Thereareanalogousstudiesintheinva-sivespeciesliterature(Dukes&Mooney1999;MooneyHobbs 2000), disease literature (Patz et al. 1996; Harvellet al. 2002; Mueller et al. 2008), and overharvest litera-ture(Finneyetal.2000).Acceptableormanageablelevelsof these stresses need to be recalibrated, and manage-ment and regulatory structures need to take into accountthat the impact of these stresses will likely be greater than anticipated when the effects of climate change arefactored in. One cannot simply set new standards, how-ever;standardsmustbedevisedthatwillberesponsivetotheever-changingenvironmentbroughtaboutbyclimatechange.
 Adopt Adaptive Management 
 Adaptive management is an “integration of design, man-agement, and monitoring to systematically test assump-tions in order to adapt and learn” (Salafsky et al. 2002). With time of the essence, years cannot be spent devel-oping adaptation strategies and redesigning conservationefforts to make them climate adaptive; adaptation is a bi-cycle we must build while we ride it. Where possible,implementation and testing of new approaches to con-servation and management must occur simultaneously.This includes creative measures that can ameliorate theeffectsofclimatechangeandmodificationsofmoretradi-tional approaches. Adaptivemanagement,whichrunsona cycle of implement–monitor–evaluate–adjust, provides
Conservation Biology
 Volume 24, No. 1, 2010
 Hansen et al.
 Table 1.
How the four tenets of climate change conservation are applied in the conservation plans of five case studies.
Case study Adequate and appropriate space Reduce nonclimate stresses Adopt adaptivemanagement  Reduce rate and extent of climate change
Florida Keys use relationships between water-quality patterns andcoral resilience to providenew spatial framework for resource managementdetermine relationshipsbetween regional water quality patternsand coral bleaching toimprove regulationidentify resilience patterns tohelp focus limited resourcesin conserving resilient andsensitive but valuable coralreefsState of FloridaExecutive Order toreduce greenhousegas emissions toprotect Florida’sresourcesMangroves identify biophysical linksbetween reefs andmangroves that supportresilience for both ecosystemsevaluate ability of mangroves to improve water quality over reefsidentify metrics for mangrove vulnerability for on-goingevaluation of resilience-building effortsMadagascar qualitatively identify vulnerableand resilient marine areas toinform creation of nationwide MPA systemcreate vulnerability index for coral ecosystems to providequantitative data for MPA selectionbuild nonclimatestressors into vulnerability index for coral reefs to helptarget key stressors for reductionuse vulnerability index toevaluate and adjustresilience-building effortsSea Turtles identify and protect beachesmore resilient to climatechangeprotect land behind nestingbeaches to allow for naturalbeach migration inland with sea-level riserestore and protect habitatassociated with valuablebeachesmeasure effect of coastal vegetation restoration onnest temperatures and adjustrestoration strategies asneeded to maintain viablesex ratioSundarbans prioritize protection of islandsor parts of islands lesssusceptible to sea-level riseand where wildlife–humanconflict can be minimizedcreate GIS maps to visualize where tigers and people areand may move as sea-levelrises and adjust conservationaction accordingly 
 Abbreviations: MPA, marine protected areas; GIS, geographic information system.
a framework for this sort of experimentation. There havealready been large changes in Earth’s climate and chem-istry(IPCC2007),andthesechangesarealreadyaffectingecosystems around the world (Parmesan & Yohe 2003).In the implementation of adaptive management, one can-not lose sight of the urgency of the work. The window of opportunity for many conservation actions that couldlessen the damage of climate change is in the process of closing.
Reduce the Rate and Extent of Climate Change
To reduce the effects of climate change on ecosystems,the most prudent course of action is to limit the rate andextent of climate change itself. Although this may notseem like “conservation,” it is a key to the success of conservation. As the pace and extent of climate changeincrease, the cost of adaptation also increases while thelikelihoodofsuccessdecreases.Applyingtheprecaution-ary principle by taking action to stop root causes may bethe best way to protect those things we are trying topreserve—species, habitats, landscapes, or planets.How these four tenets are applied will play out dif-ferently depending on ecology, regulatory framework,existing capacity, availability of baseline data, availablefunding, and other factors. The case studies presentedhere focus on marine ecosystems, but they cover a widegeographical range andfocus on everything from individ-ualspeciestolinkagesamongmultipleecosystems.Thesecase studies illustrate how this common set of resilience-building conservation tenets can be translated to suit a variety of needs (Table 1).
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary 
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was estab-lished in 1990 to help protect and preserve nearly 1 mil-lion hectares of marine environment, and it encompassesseagrass meadows, mangrove islands, and the most ex-tensive living coral reef in the United States. Annually 
Conservation Biology
 Volume 24, No. 1, 2010

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