Future Directions in Conservation and Development: Incorporating the Reality of Climate Change

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Biodiversity conservation benefits from involvement of local stakeholders to link conservation and development in site-specific, synergistic frameworks. The reality of climate change and continuing widespread development of land for settlement, agriculture, and resource extraction underline the urgent need to accelerate conservation efforts, while also necessitating review of whether current management strategies remain appropriate to reach their objectives. Since biota have been documented to respond to climatic changes via individualistic adjustment of phenology, phenotypic plasticity and range shifts, novel ecological communities without present analogs are projected to emerge. Some protected species may be displaced outside the boundaries of current conserved lands. Expansion of existing and establishment of new protected areas in anticipation of such scenarios is rarely feasible. Climate change impacts on stakeholders may further compromise conservation objectives if agricultural and resource extraction practices change. This paper reviews impacts of climate change relevant to biodiversity conservation, highlighting the interdependence of ecology, socioeconomics and policy across temporal and spatial scales. A regionally coordinated management framework with local stakeholder involvement is proposed and illustrated using the case example of REDD to achieve traditional conservation objectives and adaptation to climate change simultaneously by alleviating stresses, maximizing functional redundancy, and increasing both connectivity and local genetic diversity of conservation areas. Development objectives are addressed by integration with existing or proposed policy instruments for transfer of ‘green’ technologies and payments for carbon sequestration based on the principles of additionality or avoided deleterious land conversion.

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Biodiversity, v. 9, issue 3-4, p. 106-113