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Advancing Climate Adaptation in Wildlife Conservation

Amanda Staudt, National Wildlife Federation, Reston, VA; and D. Inkley, P. Glick, B. Stein, N. Edelson, and J. Kostyack

Climate change is already having a considerable impact on the world's ecological systems. More and larger shifts are expected, even in the best-case scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and future warming. Natural resources conservation is undergoing a fundamental shift from restoring previous or maintaining current ecological conditions to recognizing that climate change will mean planning for major changes in habitats. Still in the nascent stage of development, this new approach to conservation presents many challenges. Recent surveys of conservation professionals from state and federal agencies, a review of relevant literature, and a series of state and national workshops have identified barriers to moving forward, created a broader network of organizations and individuals engaged in wildlife adaptation to climate change, and helped to establish an initial framework and strategies for planning and implementing climate change adaptation. In this paper we summarize these efforts and discuss in further depth two projects to incorporate climate change adaptation into state conservation efforts. First, federally-funded State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) serve as conservation blueprints for each state, identifying species and habitats in greatest need of conservation, and necessary conservation actions. In collaboration with state wildlife agencies and others, the National Wildlife Federation has convened workshops in 10 states to initiate the process of incorporating climate adaptation into these plans, an important initial effort to develop effective ecosystem-based adaptation responses to climate change. Second, we have convened an expert working group to develop guidelines for vulnerability assessment as a key input for adaptation planning.

Recorded presentation

Joint Session 1, Mitigation and adaptation to climate change
Monday, 18 January 2010, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, B216

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