Designing Climate-Smart Conservation: Guidance and Case Studies

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Hansen, L., Hoffman, J., Drews, C., Meilbrecht, E.

To be successful, conservation practitioners and resource managers must fully integrate the effects
of climate change into all planning projects. Some conservation practitioners are beginning to develop, test, and implement new approaches that are designed to deal with climate change. We devised four basic tenets that are essential in climate-change adaptation for conservation: protect adequate and appropriate space, reduce nonclimate stresses, use adaptive management to implement and test climate-change adaptation strategies, and work to reduce the rate and extent of climate change to reduce overall risk. To illustrate how this approach applies in the real world, we explored case studies of coral reefs in the Florida Keys; mangrove forests in Fiji, Tanzania, and Cameroon; sea-level rise and sea turtles in the Caribbean; tigers in the Sundarbans of India; and national planning in Madagascar. Through implementation of these tenets conservation efforts in each of these regions can be made more robust in the face of climate change. Although these approaches require reconsidering some traditional approaches to conservation, this new paradigm is technologically, economically, and intellectually feasible.


Hansen, L., Hoffman, J., Drews, C., Meilbrecht, E. 2009. Designing Climate-Smart Conservation: Guidance and Case Studies. Conservation Biology, Volume 24, No. 1, 63–69. Society for Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01404.x