Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

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Wednesday 8 July - 16:30-18:00 UNESCO Fontenoy - ROOM IV

2214 - Climate-ready adaptation for conservation and ecosystem services

Parallel Session

Lead Convener(s): E. Critchley (Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom), S. Lavorel (CNRS, Grenoble, France)

Convener(s): I.C. Prentice (Imperial College London, Ascot, United Kingdom), G. Mace (University College London, London, United Kingdom)

16:30

The response of species and ecosystems to large and rapid climate changes in the past: information for conservation policy in an uncertain future

I.C. Prentice (Imperial College London, Ascot, United Kingdom)

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The response of species and ecosystems to large and rapid climate changes in the past: information for conservation policy in an uncertain future

IC. Prentice (1)
(1) Imperial College London, Department of Life Sciences, Ascot, United Kingdom

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Contrary to the impression given by some recent, high-profile reports, climate changes of similar magnitude and rate to those projected for the 21st century have occurred repeatedly in the geologically recent past, during and at the terminations of glacial periods. The causes and geographic patterns of these natural climate changes were quite different from those of contemporary climate change, which has two additional distinguishing properties: the fact that it is superimposed on a warm (interglacial) rather than a glacial base state, and the fact that it could – in the absence of mitigation – continue longer, and ultimately exceed the bounds of what the biota have experienced during several million years of Earth history.

Nonethless, the palaeoecological record can provide uniquely valuable evidence on how the biotic response to a fast-changing environment. Examination of the last glacial termination yields surprising (and in many ways encouraging) findings. Known extinctions were few, except among large mammals. Among hundreds of tree species known to have existed worldwide at the last glacial maximum, just one became extinct. A variety of responses allowed the great majority of species to persist, either in situ (through toleration or local habitat shifts), or by migration at remarkable velocities. These findings suggest a continuing role for conservation policies that focus on the maintenance and spatial continuity of habitats. They also suggest that the species most vulnerable to climate change may also be those that suffer most from other, non-climatic pressures.

16:42

Enabling transformative adaptation

M. Colloff (CSIRO, Canberra, Australia), S. Lavorel (CNRS, Grenoble, France), R. Wise (CSIRO, Canberra, Australia), M. Dunlop (CSIRO, Canberra, Australia), R. Gorddard (CSIRO, Canberra, Australia)

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Enabling transformative adaptation

M. Colloff (1) ; S. Lavorel (2) ; R. Wise (1) ; M. Dunlop (3) ; R. Gorddard (1)
(1) CSIRO, Land and water, Canberra, Australia; (2) CNRS, Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, Grenoble, France; (3) CSIRO, Land & water, Canberra, Australia

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The Transformative Adaptation Research Alliance (TARA) has developed an operational framework to study and support transformative adaptation, linking three novel concepts of ‘adaptation services’, the ‘values-rules-knowledge (vrk) perspective’ and ‘adaptation pathways’. Adaptation services describes future options provided to people by ecosystems, recognising changing societal perspectives on ecosystem management and use. The vrk perspective focuses on the societal system and how we can free up constraints on the decision context for implementation. The adaptation pathways concept provides the means for planning and sequencing the actions required for transformative adaptation. Uniting these concepts allows the exploration of interactions between changing biophysical systems and co-evolving societal systems in order to enable deliberation, choice and decision-making.

16:54

Biodiversity conservation under climate change: do we need a new approach?

G. Mace (University College London, London, United Kingdom), M. Dickinson (Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom)

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Biodiversity conservation under climate change: do we need a new approach?

G. Mace (1) ; M. Dickinson (2)
(1) University College London, Genetics, Evolution and Environment, London, United Kingdom; (2) Imperial College London, Grantham institute - climate change and environment, London, United Kingdom

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Biodiversity conservation under climate change: do we need a new approach?

 

Climate change is predicted to have major implications for species and ecosystems, acting as a driver of biodiversity loss in its own right and amplifying the effects of existing threats. It differs from other pressures, such as land-use change or over-exploitation, in the global extent and pervasive nature of its potential impacts on biodiversity. The potential magnitude of climate change impacts calls for a policy response, but the type of response and the species or regions to be targeted remains unclear. Predictions for wide-scale extinction and disruption of communities and ecosystems has led some to question whether traditional conservation practices, such as protected areas, will continue to be effective. Others have called for radical and interventionist strategies, such as moving species from their current locations to regions that are predicted to be climatically suitable.

We will provide some recommendations for conservation management under climate change based on the emerging science of integrated vulnerability assessment. This uses multiple sources of information, a greater understanding of the mechanisms and drivers of vulnerability, and identifies proxies and predictors for sensitivity and adaptive capacity.

Effective conservation policy and practice will need to embrace some change rather than aiming to preserve existing ecosystems with their component species. Distinctions between native and non-native species may become less relevant as species shift their geographic ranges. Global rather than regional or national targets or criteria for species or habitat protection or designation of protected areas may be more appropriate as species’ ranges and abundances change. A focus on ecosystem function and resilience may be more appropriate than on maintaining species community composition. Traditional practices, such as protecting or restoring habitat within reserves, may support function and resilience by allowing existing systems to absorb the impacts of climate change. Improving permeability of the landscape or connectedness between reserves may be required to facilitate range shifts, either through spatial structuring of new reserves of by enhancement of natural linear features, such as rivers and hedgerows.

Uncertainty as to future climate may be, to some extent, irreducible and be incorporated into decision frameworks and interventions though adaptive management and scenario planning. Early applications of integrated vulnerability frameworks suggest that tropical regions may be centres of climate change vulnerability. Climate change, coupled with predicted increased in land-use change in these regions, suggests that tropical zones may be future centres of biodiversity loss. Stemming loss is likely to require a co-ordinated international response, with transfer of expertise and financial assistance from high-income developed temperate nations to assist low-income tropical nations in increasing their level of human societal development in a sustainable manner.

17:06

Powerful deliberate practices for enabling transformative adaptation

I. Fazey (University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom)

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Powerful deliberate practices for enabling transformative adaptation

I. Fazey (1)
(1) University of Dundee, School of environment, Dundee, United Kingdom

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Anticipatory and transformative adaptation in the face of climate change, including for biodiversity conservation and maintenance of ecosystem services, is an intentional process. It requires the facilitation of the enabling conditions for significant and qualitative societal changes well beyond minor or incremental adjustments. Yet there is currently little understanding about how such deliberate significant changes come about, and at the rates necessary to reduce the threat of climate change. This presentation will therefore examine the nature and role of powerful deliberate practices (the tools, activities and processes) for helping to create the enabling conditions for transformative adaptation and conservation of biodiversity.  The presentation will do four things. First, it will explain the concept of transformative adaptation and the challenges involved in facilitating enabling conditions. Second, it will explain the kinds of research that is that can simultaneously help understand transformation while also accelerating transformation in practice. This necessarily involves: (i) integrating existing theory, such as social practice theory and social technical transitions to overcome epistemological and ontological differences; and (ii) the bridging and integration of different kinds of knowledge, including academic (episteme) and that of practitioners (phronesis). Third, it presents a new concept called ‘powerful deliberate practices’ as a way to overcome some of the challenges of working on transformation. This concept is important because its emphasis on:  (i) ‘powerful’ highlights the need to understand which practices are most useful, for which circumstances, and why for adaptation and biodiversity conservation; (ii) ‘deliberate’ highlights the need for approaches that can directly contribute to change in the present rather than, for example, looking to poorly suited past cases of change as analogues for the contemporary issues; and (iii) ‘practices’ highlights the need to understand the complexities and subtleties of interventions for conservation and adaptation as a collection of tools, activities and processes in systems of wider, less conscious social practices. Finally, an example of Three Horizons will be used of a potential powerful deliberate practice. Three Horizons is a process used to facilitate dialogue between individuals with different values and mindsets to map out processes of transition and transformation. The approach is able to both deal with situations of high uncertainty and has been found to create radical transformations in how participants relate to the future and view themselves as credible actors in shaping change, and is thus relevant to diverse circumstances, including transformative adaptation and the management of ecosystem governance and change. In conclusion, a research agenda is needed to develop, integrate and understand the role of a suite of powerful deliberate practices to accelerate learning about the enabling conditions for transformative change. This will necessarily involve new transformative modes of research that are significantly and qualitatively different from many of those already being applied.

17:11

Expanding the horizons of governance for adaptation pathways: illustrations from protected areas management

C. Wyborn (WWF International, Gland, Switzerland), L. Van Kerkhoff (The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia)

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Expanding the horizons of governance for adaptation pathways: illustrations from protected areas management

C. Wyborn (1) ; L. Van Kerkhoff (2)
(1) WWF International, Luc Hoffmann Institute, Gland, Switzerland; (2) The Australian National University, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Canberra, ACT, Australia

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The concept of adaptation pathways is expanding our ideas of governance for adaptation to include wider social and institutional dimensions of organisation, decision-making and implementation. This is captured by the “values-rules-knowledge” construct.  Drawing on recent work in adaptive governance and long-standing development studies literature and practice, we propose that we can combine this construct with complementary perspectives to develop a more holistic framework for governance in examining transitions to more sustainable and adaptive development pathways. This expanded framework incorporates culture and corruption, power and politics, resources and capacity, and process and vision. We present this framework, and demonstrate its application through retrospective application to research on public land management in Colorado, USA, and prospectively to a pilot study on the Pacific island of Palau, specifically the Protected Areas Network (PAN) Fund. These illustrations suggests that the framework can be used as a device to help us identify ‘deeper’, more structurally-embedded influences that shape values, rules and knowledge, that support or inhibit transformational change, as well as some of the practical implications. Importantly, it also has the potential to alert us to crucial ‘blind spots’ in our investigations and analyses of governance for adaptation in the face of global environmental change, as well as to identify opportunities for institutional innovation.

17:16

Global scenarios that achieve multiple sustainability targets: challenges for IPBES and IPCC

P. Leadley (Univ. Paris-Sud, Orsay, France)

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Global scenarios that achieve multiple sustainability targets: challenges for IPBES and IPCC

P. Leadley (1)
(1) Univ. Paris-Sud, Lab. Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, Orsay, France

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Several global sustainability goals for the 21st century have been agreed upon or are being discussed in the context of global multilateral environmental agreements. These include keeping global warming to 2°C or less for the 21st century (UNFCCC objective under discussion), halting the loss of biodiversity by 2050 (Convention on Biological Diversity) and attaining these while simultaneously meeting human development goals under the UN post-2015 global development goals currently under discussion. Scenarios of future global development suggest that achieving these multiple targets simultaneously will require substantial societal transformations. Many of these transformations have not been fully explored in global scenarios, even though many studies have shown that these can play very large roles in achieving mutliple sustainability targets. This talk will review some of the key challenges facing IPCC and IPBES (International Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) in developing the next generation of global scenarios of socio-economic development, using examples from the IPCC SSP scenarios, the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4, the UNEP Green Economy report and a wide range of published studies. This analysis suggests in that transformations of food systems, in terms of marine fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture, food transformation and food consumption can make major contributions to achieving a wide range of sustainability targets.

17:21

Panel discussion

S. Lavorel (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Grenoble, France), I. C. Prentice (Imperial College , London, United Kingdom), M. Colloff (CSIRO, Canberra, Australia), G. Mace (University College London, London, United Kingdom), I. Fazey (University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom)

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Panel discussion
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