The purpose of this report is to provide an up-to-date review of the extent to which climate change is occurring in the Y2Y region, and to assess the appropriateness of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative’s vision and programs as a response to climate disruption. Even the most optimistic models forecast that if greenhouse-gas emissions could be reined in today, and climate change mitigation efforts optimized, the momentum of global climate change could not be stopped for at least another century. All life on the planet today will be challenged by a future that has no analog in the past. In this brave new reality, life will persist in flux, with many species going extinct and many ecosystems pushed to the brink of wholesale collapse.In the absence of substantial reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, the climate of the Y2Y region will very likely see accelerated warming and changes in precipitation. The climates of the Y2Y region already have changed beyond the limits of historic variation. These climatic changes are having ecological impacts; and continued changes, especially warming, will have long-term, unprecedented future impacts.
From the Introduction:
This review aims to answer the question: what is the threat of climate change to birds? Knowledge in this field is advancing rapidly. More is known about birds than any other class of animals, and of all groups of plants and animals the scientific analysis of likely future impacts from climate change is most developed for birds. Furthermore, birds provide some of the clearest examples of impacts already underway.
However, to date relatively few studies -- with some notable exceptions -- seek to provide an overarching view of how birds as a group are responding to climate change at the regional, continental or global level. At the same time, hundreds of localised studies on individual bird species or groups of species provide insight into how the threat is playing out in a multitude of ecosystems. This research is most detailed in Europe and North America, with far fewer studies from Asia and the southern hemisphere.
This review seeks to provide a global overview of current effects of climate change on birds as well as a picture of future impacts. It provides a scientific assessment of current research data, achieved by surveying hundreds of research articles and reports on the topic.
The application of ecosystem-based management (EBM) in marine environments has been widely supported by scientists, managers, and policy makers, yet implementation of this approach is difficult for various scientific, political, and social reasons. A key, but often overlooked, challenge is how to account for multiple and varied human activities and ecosystem services and incorporate ecosystem-level thinking into EBM planning. We developed methods to systematically identify the natural and human components of a specific ecosystem and to qualitatively evaluate the strength of their interactions. Using the Gulf of Maine marine ecosystem as a case study, we show how these methods may be applied, in order to identify and prioritize the most important components to be included in an EBM plan – particularly the human activities that are the strongest drivers of ecosystem change and the ecosystem services most threatened by cumulative and indirect effects of these activities.
Under natural resource ecosystems shared across communities and nations, the distribution among stakeholders of risks and vulnerability to climate change is likely to be uneven on account of the nature of their stakes in the ecosystems, the degree of their dependence and the extent of degradation of the natural resources. Striving for a common adaptation strategy that safeguards the shared forest ecosystems and balances the interests of the multiple stakeholders would require a framework that encourages sharing and redistribution of ecosystem benefits and sharing of the potential climate risks and impacts on forests and stakeholders, taking into account the vulnerabilities of both ecosystems and people. This will constitute an important first step in reducing the burden of climate change on the weak and most vulnerable. Such a framework would also guide the decision making process, aid in redefining future activities especially when the risk situation changes, and help connect adaptation to sustainable national and regional development programmes through prioritisation of possible adaptation activities. This paper uses the experiences gained under the Tropical Forests and Climate Change Adaptation project of the Center for International Forest Research across three continents to propose a priority setting process with active participation of multiple stakeholders in tropical ecosystems in developing countries perceived in their judgement to be crucial for adaptation to climate change. By attributing values to forest ecosystem goods and services for all stakeholders, prioritisation represents a common position by multiple stakeholders linking their interests and practices for a common purpose.