Managing protected areas under climate change: challenges and priorities

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Rannow, Sven, Maqcgregor, Nicholas A., Albrecht, Juliane, Crick, Humphrey Q. P., Förster, Michael, Heiland, Stefan, Janauer, Georg, Morecroft, Mike D., Neubert, Marco, Sarbu, Anca, and Sienkiewicz, Jadwiga

The implementation of adaptation actions in local conservation management is a new and complex task with multiple facets, influenced by factors differing from site to site. A transdisciplinary perspective is therefore required to identify and implement effective solutions. To address this, the International Conference on Managing Protected Areas under Climate Change brought together international scientists, conservation managers, and decision-makers to discuss current experiences with local adaptation of conservation management. This paper summarizes the main issues for implementing adaptation that emerged from the conference. These include a series of conclusions and recommendations on monitoring, sensitivity assessment, current and future management practices, and legal and policy aspects. A range of spatial and temporal scales must be considered in the implementation of climate-adapted management. The adaptation process must be area-specific and consider the ecosystem and the social and economic conditions within and beyond protected area boundaries. However, a strategic overview is also needed: management at each site should be informed by conservation priorities and likely impacts of climate change at regional or even wider scales. Acting across these levels will be a long and continuous process, requiring coordination with actors outside the “traditional” conservation sector. To achieve this, a range of research, communication, and policy/legal actions is required. We identify a series of important actions that need to be taken at different scales to enable managers of protected sites to adapt successfully to a changing climate.


Rannow, S., N. A. Macgregor, J. Albrecht, H. Q. P. Crick, M. Förster, S. Heiland, G. Janauer, M. D. Morecroft, M. Neubert, A. Sarbu, and J. Sienkiewicz. 2014. Managing protected areas under climate change: challenges and priorities. Environmental Management:1–12. doi:10.1007/s00267-014-0271-5