Prospects for Canada's protected areas in an era of rapid climate change

Publication year: 2011
Source: Land Use Policy, Volume 28, Issue 4, October 2011, Pages 928-941

Christopher J., Lemieux , Thomas J., Beechey , Paul A., Gray

Given the known and potential impacts of climate change on ecosystem composition, structure, and function, some recent studies question the efficacy and relevancy of current protected area policies and management objectives. For example, in a rapidly changing climate is it practical to continue to identify and protect ‘representative’ samples of the natural heritage estate? This paper examines a number of climate-related issues that now confront agencies and organizations responsible for the protection of natural heritage areas, including the roles of protected areas, representation targets, ecological integrity, protected area design, management techniques, research and monitoring needs, and agency capacity to respond….

 Highlights: ► Climate change has significant implications for the efficacy of protected areas policies and management objectives. ► Protected areas management should focus on protecting, connecting, and restoring ecosystems. ► Contemporary planning and management initiatives provide a hedge against uncertainty. ► Protected areas should more effectively embed broader societal sustainability goals. ► Institutional and financial resources will be required to efficiently and effectively adapt to climate change impacts. ► Communicating climate change to the Canadian public remains a fundamental challenge to protected areas agencies.