Where in the World Should We Put  Conservation For Climate Change?


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What is at Stake?

Species are on the move with climate change. Our conservation efforts need to keep pace. Representing all species and all ecosystems in conservation is challenging with moving species. Meeting national development goals and international shared goals depends on early effective planning for species on the move.

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Possible species responses to increasing temperatures under climate change.

Possible species responses to increasing temperatures under climate change.

What is Happening?

Species are moving in response to climate change. Every species has its own unique climatic tolerance, so as temperature and precipitation change, plants and animals move to track suitable climate. Species are moving upslope in mountains to cooler areas to escape warming.  In the lowlands, species have to move longer distances to find cooler landscapes. This process happens over decades, across many generations for plants and animals, but it is already happening. Nature is being rearranged by climate change in this process will accelerate as climate change intensifies. Our ability to meet Sustainable Development Goals, combat climate change and conserve nature are all affected by species on the move.

How Can We Respond?

To meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), combat climate change and conserve nature we need to plan for species on the move. SDGs that depend on nature, such as access to fresh water and income from tourism, have to be able to adapt to changing natural conditions in order to deliver benefits to society. Representing all species and ecosystems in conservation areas requires that we understand and plan for species on the move. These core conservation areas provide stability and resilience in natural systems that help maintain carbon stocks and natural vegetation for fighting climate change.

To plan for these changes, we need to understand how fast climate will change in different parts of the country, how species will respond to these changes, including their sensitivity to change, and we need to understand how moving species will rearrange ecosystems. SPARC methodology emphasizes the steps needed to conserve nature when species are on the move. When we conserve high priority areas for species and ecosystems on the move, we are maintaining core areas critical for meeting SDGs and conserving biodiversity.

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