Using an adaptation approach is vital to offset the increasing impacts from climate change combined with existing anthropogenic impacts to natural communities and species.
Simply conserving species or habitats where they exist under present conditions may not be sufficient. Biodiversity conservation in a changing climate requires a re-evaluation of management goals and objectives. Management approaches will need to be forward-looking and focus on maintaining a diversity of well-functioning ecosystems, as it could be very difficult to maintain the current spatial arrangements and composition of systems, communities, and species under a changing climate.
Climate change adaptation planning focuses on the implementation of strategies designed to prepare for and adjust to climatic changes in addition to the associated impacts on natural systems and human communities.
Adaptation strategies enable management to plan for and react to climate change impacts by targeting processes that encourage ecosystem resilience, reduce external stressors, and safeguard genetic diversity. These strategies expand the applicability of current conservation practices and standards to better address the realities of a changing world.
Developing adaptation strategies for natural systems requires an understanding of how climate change may affect important species and habitats, as well as how effects may interact with other ongoing threats, ecological processes, and management actions.
These adaptation strategies are not meant to be comprehensive, but are a starting point to help in the development of more comprehensive adaptation strategies that include knowledge of site-specific factors and the expertise of land managers.
You can also learn more about cross-cutting adaptation strategies that are more generally applicable across species and habitats.