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Talking climate adaptation

Posted by kmcgurn at Aug 06, 2013 04:35 PM |

“Climate Adaption” A phrase you’ve perhaps heard tossed around by the most wonky of your friends. But what does it really mean?

Talking climate adaptation

When you consider how wildlife move across the landscape as ecosystems change, connecting the Cascades to the Rockies becomes all the more important. The Kettle Range, a key lifeline, by Eric Zamora

“Climate Adaption” 

Perhaps a phrase you’ve heard tossed around by the wonkiest of your friends. But what does it really mean?

In a nutshell: We know climate change is a reality, and that humans are the main culprit. (No use in arguing that anymore, right?)  We also know that regardless of how quickly we “mitigate” climate change (i.e. stop burning fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gases) we’ll still see effects of all the greenhouse gases we’ve already released into the atmosphere that are essentially locked in for the foreseeable future.

Climate Adaptation = How humans will actively plan and take action so that we and other species survive, adapt, and even thrive in our new reality of climate change.

Don’t let this mislead you, climate adaptation is as much a question as it is a fact at this point, particularly as it relates to how we will effectively take action to adapt to our new reality.

We’ll need to find ways to help both human and natural communities adapt to climate induced changes. For Conservation Northwest, this means addressing both how we help individual critters and species survive, as well as helping entire landscape ecosystems maintain their core functions in the face of new and fluctuating climatic conditions.

We aren't alone. Government at all levels has been asking similar questions, and earlier this year the US released a comprehensive strategy for natural ecosystems, titled the National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy.

Many of the action strategies called for in this report are approaches Conservation Northwest is already using in our current work.

Case in point: the first goal of the strategy document is to “Conserve habitat to support healthy fish, wildlife, and plant populations and ecosystem functions in a changing climate.” 

Sustaining a diversity of healthy populations over time requires conserving a sufficient variety and amount of habitat and building a well-connected network of conservation areas to allow the movement of species in response to climate change.

Our mission statement quickly reveals we've been on the forefront of advancing these climate adaptation principles in our work for more than two decades. We're all about  Protect and Connect.

Our own connectivity maven Jen Watkins notes, “The final release of this strategy helps set a national framework for the actions we take on the ground in the northwest to help critters and their habitats adapt to a changing climate. From creating more resilient forests through restoration projects in eastern Washington to creating safe passage to help animals cross busy highways, we are working on the ground to improve and connect habitats today that improve the conditions for the future.”

The fact remains, we are entering a new world, and climate adaptation, if nothing else, provides a new and important lens for looking at how we need to proceed if we value the wild and natural ecosystems of our region, and our world.

Care about climate adaptation? Help us protect and connect from the Cascades to the Rockies with a gift.

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Posted by Dennis at Sep 01, 2013 08:58 PM
Great information

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