A Three-Step Decision Support Framework for Climate Adaptation: Selecting Climate-Informed Conservation Goals and Strategies for Native Salmonids in the Northern U.S. Rockies

The impact of climate change on cold-water ecosystems—and the cold-adapted native salmonids present in these systems—is the subject of a substantial body of research.. Recently, scientists have developed a number of datasets and analyses that provide insight into projections of climate change e ects on native salmonid populations in the northern U.S. Rockies region. Alongside this research, a number of management options for helping native salmonids respond to the e ects of climate change—also known as ‘climate adaptation’ strategies and actions—have been identi ed by scientists and managers in the region. These analyses and climate adaptation options o er valuable information to managers charged with making di cult decisions about where and how to best conserve and restore the region’s native salmonids given the challenges posed by shifting climatic conditions. Yet managers in the region continue to identify challenges in applying available information on climate change impacts, particularly in determining forward-looking conservation goals and selecting appropriate actions from the long menu of available climate adaptation options.

 

To augment this research and compilation of climate-informed management options, we have developed a decision support framework aimed at helping managers think critically about how to apply climate information to their management decisions. Speci cally, our framework is meant to help managers:

1) articulate an appropriate conservation goal for cold-adapted native salmonid populations taking into account the impacts of climate change on habitat suitability, threats from non-native sh, and connectivity;

2) consider the climate adaptation strategies that might best support that goal; and

3) identify actions that are available to implement the chosen strategies.

Given the complexity and uncertainty of conserving cold-adapted species in an era of rapid climate change and the limited resources available for conservation, choices about where to invest conservation dollars require defensible and transparent decision making. The three-step decision framework we provide here is meant to be a starting point to help managers document how they have incorporated information on climate change into their management decisions and prioritization of limited resources. The process used to develop the framework for native salmonids can be used to tailor decision support for additional conservation targets of interest. Ultimately, managers can integrate this climate change thinking into existing conservation strategies and management plans, alongside the myriad other regulatory, social, economic and locally-driven factors and mandates that in uence management decisions.

Methods of Assessing Human Health Vulnerability and Public Health Adaptation to Climate Change

The fact that climate is changing has become increasingly clear over the past decade. Recent evidence suggests that the associated changes in temperature and precipitation are already adversely affecting population health.The future burden of disease attributable to climate change will depend in part on the timeliness and effectiveness of the interventions implemented. In response to these changing risks, the Third Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in London in 1999 recommended developing the capacity to undertake national assessments of the potential health effects of climate variability and change, with the goal of identifying: 1) vulnerable populations and subgroups and 2) interventions that could be implemented to reduce the current and future burden of disease.The need to facilitate the transfer of expertise among countries was recognized.This publication is designed to address this need by providing practical information to governments, health agencies and environmental and meteorological institutions in both industrialized and developing countries on quantitative and qualitative methods of assessing human health vulnerability and public health adaptation to climate change.An integrated approach to assessment is encouraged because the impact of climate is likely to transcend traditional sector and regional boundaries, with effects in one sector affecting the coping capacity of another sector or region. Part I describes the objectives and the steps for assessing vulnerability and adaptation and Part II discusses the following issues for a range of health outcomes: the evidence that climate change could affect mortality and morbidity; methods of projecting future effects; and identifying adaptation strategies, policies and measures to reduce current and future negative effects.The health outcomes considered are: morbidity and mortality from heat and heat-waves, air pollution, floods and windstorms and food insecurity; vector-borne diseases; waterborne and foodborne diarrhoeal diseases; and adverse health outcomes associated with stratospheric ozone depletion.

Global Marine Hotspots Network

Location

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
15-21 Nubeena Cres
7053 Taroona
Australia
42° 57' 1.3356" S, 147° 21' 16.5528" E
AU
Summary: 

The Global Marine Hotspots Network was created because the oceans are not warming evenly and those areas that are warming the fastest – ocean warming ‘hotspots’ – can be considered as the world’s natural laboratories to provide the knowledge and tools to enable us to adapt wisely, efficiently, and effectively to meet the challenges of a warming environment. The Network was designed to better understand the impacts of climate change on commercial fisheries, which support coastal communities and global industries.

Atlantis Ecosystem Modeling in Golden Bays, Tasman and Chatham Rise Regions

Location

Golden Bay and Tasman Bay
New Zealand
40° 49' 9.7068" S, 173° 10' 48.8532" E
NZ
Summary: 

Effective species management requires an understanding of species’ response to changing conditions. The Atlantis model, used by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, explores ecosystems to consider impacts of multiple factors. It is currently being used to consider fisheries, climate change, the impacts of pollutants, and habitat damage due to fishing and mining. While Atlantis has been used around the world, this project is focused on effectively modeling the Tasman and Golden Bays region, as well as Chatham Rise.

2014 USDA Climate Change Adaptation Plan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Climate Change Adaptation Plan presents strategies and actions to address the effects of climate change on key mission areas including agricultural production, food security, rural development, and forestry and natural resources conservation.

The 2014 USDA Climate Change Adaptation Plan includes input from eleven USDA agencies and offices.  It provides a detailed vulnerability assessment, reviews the elements of USDA’s mission that are at risk from climate change, and provides specific actions and steps being taken to build resilience to climate change.  The plan advances President Obama’s Priority Agenda and Climate Action Plan to integrate climate change adaptation planning into the actions of the federal government.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever. The Fifth Assessment Report, which the IPCC is releasing in four parts between September 2013 and November 2014, is the work of 830 expert authors, from 85 countries. Its first three volumes already stretch to 5,000+ pages.

Now the Climate and Development Knowledge Network and Overseas Development Institute have released a succinct guide to the assessment for decision-makers in Africa.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa?  distils the richest material on climate impacts and trends in Africa, and African experiences in adaptation and mitigation, from the thousands of pages of the Fifth Assessment Report. The expert research team has worked under the guidance of IPCC Coordinating Lead Authors and Reviewers to ensure fidelity to the original material.

The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: What’s in it for Africa? aims to make the IPCC’s important material more accessible and usable to African audiences. This guide responds to wide demand for region-specific information. 

The guide is part of a suite of materials to promote the key findings of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. Forthcoming companion volumes will provide a digest of IPCC findings for: South Asia; Latin America; and Small Island Developing States. Please visit www.cdkn.org/ar5-toolkit to access a range of resources, including free-to-use images and infographics.

Bolivia Climate Change Poverty and Adaptation

Bolivia is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change for six basic reasons:

1. It is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and suffers from one of the worst patterns of inequality. Low-income groups in developing countries are the most exposed to climate change impacts.

2. It is the country in South America with the highest percentage of indigenous people, where much of the poverty and inequality is concentrated.

3. It is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, with a wide variety of ecosystems that are vulnerable to different impacts from climate change.

4. More than half of the country is Amazonian, with high levels of the deforestation which adds to the vulnerability to flooding.

5. Located in a climatically volatile region, it is one of the countries in the world most affected by ‘natural’ disasters in recent years.

6. It is home to about twenty per cent of the world’s tropical glaciers, which are retreating more quickly than predicted by many experts.

In July 2009 a team of Oxfam researchers travelled to three areas of Bolivia (Trinidad in Beni, the Cochabamba valleys and Khapi under Mount Illimani, in La Paz) to take a snapshot of how poor families are experiencing the changing climate, and how they are adapting to it. The researchers also interviewed key government and international officials, social movements and NGO representatives. The main findings and recommendations of this report are:

Poor women and men throughout Bolivia are already experiencing the consequences of climate change, but in most cases are illequipped to adapt to the present and future impacts.

The perception of many villagers and local farmers is that the climate is already changing in terms of the unpredictability of the rainfall, more extreme weather events and higher temperatures, with negative impacts for their livelihoods.

Oxfam International has noted that in recent years the frequency and magnitude of damage from the extreme weather events have increased. Women are often the hardest hit, as they are often the ones left to tend small farms and families, and have fewer alternative livelihoods when crops are lost.

Bolivia can expect five main impacts as a result of climate change: less food security; glacial retreat affecting water availability; more frequent and more intense ‘natural’ disasters; an increase in mosquito-borne diseases; and more forest fires.

Of these, Oxfam International is particularly concerned that poor women and men and indigenous peoples will be affected by the effect of unpredictable weather on agricultural production as this could lead to less food availability and/or higher food prices.

Oxfam International believes that it is deeply unjust that poor communities and families in Bolivia and other South American countries are having to pay a high price for a situation for which they have virtually no historical responsibility.

In the three areas visited for this report local people, and particularly women, are already experimenting with ways of adapting to the changes in the climate. The ‘camellones’ project in Trinidad offers a promising example of poor women using ancient technologies to find a way of improving food security, adapting to flooding and reducing deforestation.

The government of President Evo Morales is beginning to take climate change seriously. However, it is still in the early stages of developing national policy and practical adaptation programmes. A major effort will be required to scale up the institutional, financial, and technical capacity to address the climate challenge.

Oxfam International´s concern is that the opportunities being opened up by the change process in Bolivia to reduce poverty, particularly amongst the indigenous population, will come under severe pressure from climate change impacts.

The establishment of the Platform of Social Organisations against Climate Change is a positive development to put pressure on national and international governments to combat the impacts of global warming. It is already having a major impact on government policy and awareness-raising.

Climate Change Adaptation Manual - Evidence to Support Nature Conservation in a Changing Climate

The need for climate change adaptation has become increasingly widely recognised in the last 20 years. Nature conservation was one of the first sectors to identify the need and to start developing approaches. To date, much of the focus has been on identifying general principles. This was an essential first step, but adaptation needs to be embedded into decision-making in specific places and circumstances. There can be a big gap between general principles and specific applications. Effective adaptation requires local knowledge and experience, combined with relevant scientific information and an understanding of practical options. It will be assisted by sharing good practice and evidence of what techniques have worked in particular places and situations.

This Adaptation Manual is a resource to support practical and pragmatic decision-making, by bringing together recent science, experience and case studies, and is intended to be an accessible entry point to a range of available resources and tools. It is not intended to be read from cover to cover. Different elements stand alone and can be read individually. We anticipate that the information contained here will be useful to a variety of people, including managers of nature reserves and other protected sites, conservation and land management advisors, and environmental consultants. The intended audience is those who are involved in the management of land for conservation and amenity, and includes staff of local and national government, statutory agencies and NGOs.

Much of the work to date on adaptation in the natural environment has been centred on biodiversity, which is the focus for this first edition of the manual, particularly habitat management. However, this is a fast moving field and we anticipate the manual will be a resource that develops and grows over time. Subsequent revisions are intended to deal more thoroughly with species, and how managing the natural environment can help society to adapt to climate change. Other future topics include landscape character, geodiversity, and recreation. We encourage feedback and comment. The manual is designed to support practical adaptation, and the lessons learnt and experience gained will ideally be fed back as case studies to assist others.

Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice

Climate change already is having significant impacts on the nation’s species and ecosystems, and these effects are projected to increase considerably over time. As a result, climate change is now a primary lens through which conservation and natural resource management must be viewed. How should we prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change on wildlife and their habitats? What should we be doing differently in light of these climatic shifts, and what actions continue to make sense? Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice offers guidance for designing and carrying out conservation in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment

The National Climate Assessment assesses the science of climate change and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. It documents climate change related impacts and responses for various sectors and regions, with the goal of better informing public and private decision-making at all levels.

A team of more than 300 experts, guided by a 60-member National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee produced the full report – the largest and most diverse team to produce a U.S. climate assessment. Stakeholders involved in the development of the assessment included decision-makers from the public and private sectors, resource and environmental managers, researchers, representatives from businesses and non-governmental organizations, and the general public. More than 70 workshops and listening sessions were held, and thousands of public and expert comments on the draft report provided additional input to the process.

The assessment draws from a large body of scientific peer-reviewed research, technical input reports, and other publicly available sources; all sources meet the standards of the Information Quality Act. The report was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the 13 Federal agencies of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the Federal Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability.