A New Era for Conservation: Review of Climate Change Adaptation Literature
Natural resource managers and conservationists are coming to grips with the fact that rapid global warming and associated climate changes are 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. These climate changes are ushering in a fundamental shift in natural resource management and conservation, to help natural systems withstand and adapt to new climate conditions. This literature review summarizes recent science on climate change adaptation in the context of natural resource management and fish and wildlife conservation. The review was prepared as a background contribution to the Adaptation 2009 conference being held February 2009 in Washington, DC, under the auspices of the National Council on Science and the Environment (NCSE) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF). The review starts with an overview of the concept of climate change adaptation, including overarching principles and barriers experienced to date in adaptation planning and implementation. We then provide specific examples of adaptation strategies for four broad habitat types: (1) forests; (2) grasslands and shrublands; (3) freshwater systems; and (4) coasts and estuaries.