Accelerating Adaptation of Natural Resource Management to Address Climate Change
Natural resource managers are seeking tools to help them address current and future effects of climate change. We present a model for collaborative planning aimed at identifying ways to adapt management actions to address the effects of climate change in landscapes that cross public and private jurisdictional boundaries. The Southwest Climate Change Initiative (SWCCI) piloted the Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) planning approach at workshops in 4 southwestern U.S. landscapes. This planning approach successfully increased participants’ self-reported capacity to address climate change by providing them with a better understanding of potential effects and guiding the identification of solutions. The workshops fostered crossjurisdictional and multidisciplinary dialogue on climate change through active participation of scientists and managers in assessing climate change effects, discussing the implications of those effects for determining management goals and activities, and cultivating opportunities for regional coordination on adaptation of management plans. Facilitated application of the ACT framework advanced group discussions beyond assessing effects to devising options to mitigate the effects of climate change on specific species, ecological functions, and ecosystems. Participants addressed uncertainty about future conditions by considering more than one climate-change scenario. They outlined opportunities and identified next steps for implementing several actions, and local partnerships have begun implementing actions and conducting additional planning. Continued investment in adaptation of management plans and actions to address the effects of climate change in the southwestern United States and extension of the approaches used in this project to additional landscapes are needed if biological diversity and ecosystem services are to be maintained in a rapidly changing world.