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Keywords:

  • biodiversity;
  • climate change;
  • conservation;
  • matrix management;
  • modelling;
  • protected areas;
  • range shifts

ABSTRACT

Aim  Conservation strategies currently include little consideration of climate change. Insights about the biotic impacts of climate change from biogeography and palaeoecology, therefore, have the potential to provide significant improvements in the effectiveness of conservation planning. We suggest a collaboration involving biogeography, ecology and applied conservation. The resulting Climate Change-integrated Conservation Strategies (CCS) apply available tools to respond to the conservation challenges posed by climate change.

Location  The focus of this analysis is global, with special reference to high biodiversity areas vulnerable to climate change, particularly tropical montane settings.

Methods  Current tools from climatology, biogeography and ecology applicable to conservation planning in response to climate change are reviewed. Conservation challenges posed by climate change are summarized. CCS elements are elaborated that use available tools to respond to these challenges.

Results  Five elements of CCS are described: regional modelling; expanding protected areas; management of the matrix; regional coordination; and transfer of resources. Regional modelling uses regional climate models, biotic response models and sensitivity analysis to identify climate change impacts on biodiversity at a regional scale appropriate for conservation planning. Expansion of protected areas management and systems within the planning region are based on modelling results. Management of the matrix between protected areas provides continuity for processes and species range shifts outside of parks. Regional coordination of park and off-park efforts allows harmonization of conservation goals across provincial and national boundaries. Finally, implementation of these CCS elements in the most biodiverse regions of the world will require technical and financial transfer of resources on a global scale.

Main conclusions  Collaboration across disciplines is necessary to plan conservation responses to climate change adequately. Biogeography and ecology provide insights into the effects of climate change on biodiversity that have not yet been fully integrated into conservation biology and applied conservation management. CCS provide a framework in which biogeographers, ecologists and conservation managers can collaborate to address this need. These planning exercises take place on a regional level, driven by regional climate models as well as general circulation models (GCMs), to ensure that regional climate drivers such as land use change and mesoscale topography are adequately represented. Sensitivity analysis can help address the substantial uncertainty inherent in projecting future climates and biodiversity response.