A new article, published as a Perspective in the journal Conservation Science and Practice, introduces a rapid assessment framework that can be used as a guide to make conservation and nature-based solutions more robust to future climate.
Climate change poses risks to conservation efforts, if practitioners assume a future climate similar to the past or present. For example, more frequent and intense disturbances, such as wildfire or drought-induced tree mortality, can threaten projects that are designed to enhance habitat for forest-dependent species and sequester carbon. Overlooking such climate-related risks can result in failed conservation investments and negative outcomes for people, biodiversity, and ecosystem integrity as well as lead to carbon-sink reversal. Drawing from lessons learned from a decade of funding over 100 adaptation initiatives through the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, the authors offer a simple framework that enables users to rapidly assess how — and by what means — climate change will require innovation beyond business-as-usual conservation practice.