Fri 15 Apr 2011: 5pm – James Watson on “Impacts of climate change for biodiversity: Planning for adaptation”

“Impacts of climate change for biodiversity: Planning for adaptation”

Dr. James Watson,
Climate Change Adaptation Team,
Wildlife Conservation Society

Friday, 15 April 2011: 5.00pm
DBS Seminar Room, Block S2, Level 4 [see map]

Visitor to campus note: drive slowly, beware jaywalkers/students rushing to class; be early – allocate time for parking and walking to seminar venue.

Host: Richard Corlett

About the talk – The reality of human-forced rapid climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the conservation of biodiversity. In this talk I will describe how the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a science-based environmental NGO which works in 71 landscapes and seascapes in 41 countries across Earth, is tackling the challenge.

As part of their strategic plan, WCS has always made a conscious choice to work in those areas that are in the most need – they are often in regions where other NGOs do not work and their ecology is little known. The vast majority of landscapes and seascapes WCS work in are therefore characterised by limited information on what the likely species and ecosystem responses are to climate change, and how current threatening processes will change. There is also often very limited government capacity to actually start to plan for and adapt to challenges climate change pose.

WCS has implemented two strategies to start to plan for this challenge. First, in the absence of specific regional data, WCS encourages a holistic conservation strategy that incorporates a larger adaptation agenda – one that recognizes the importance of protecting and restoring those natural processes and responses that have enabled species to persist through past environmental change.

Second, WCS is developing regionally specific adaptation frameworks to allow specific activities to be planned for, and implemented, in a number of landscapes. While the development of these frameworks are in their infancy, there are three different case studies from the Albertine Rift, Madagascar, and North America that highlight some of the climate adaptation activities being undertaken by the organization.

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