Bainbridge Island, WA, United States
Bainbridge Island, WA, United States
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Thorne J.H.,University of California at Davis | Seo C.,Seoul National University | Basabose A.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | Gray M.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | And 3 more authors.
Ecosphere | Year: 2013

Endangered species conservation planning needs to consider the effects of future climate change. Species distribution models are commonly used to predict future shifts in habitat suitability. We evaluated the effects of climate change on the highly endangered mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) using a variety of modeling approaches, and assessing model outputs from the perspective of three spatial habitat management strategies: status quo, expansion and relocation. We show that alternative assumptions about the ecological niche of mountain gorillas can have a very large effect on model predictions. 'Standard' correlative models using 18 climatic predictor variables suggested that by 2090 there would be no suitable habitat left for the mountain gorilla in its existing parks, whereas a 'limiting-factor' model, that uses a proxy of primary productivity, suggested that climate suitability would not change much. Species distribution models based on fewer predictor variables, on alternative assumptions about niche conservatism (including or excluding the other subspecies Gorilla beringii graueri), and a model based on gorilla behavior, had intermediate predictions. These alternative models show strong variation, and, in contrast to the standard approach with 18 variables, suggest that mountain gorilla habitat in the parks may remain suitable, that protected areas could be expanded into lower (warmer) areas, and that there might be climactically suitable habitat in other places where new populations could possibly be established. Differences among model predictions point to avenues for model improvement and further research. Similarities among model predictions point to possible areas for climate change adaptation management. For species with narrow distributions, such as the mountain gorilla, modeling the impact of climate change should be based on careful evaluation of their biology, particularly of the factors that currently appear to limit their distribution, and should avoid the naïve application of standard correlative methods with many predictor variables. © 2013 Thorne et al.

Stein B.A.,National Wildlife Federation | Staudt A.,National Wildlife Federation | Cross M.S.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Dubois N.S.,Defenders of Wildlife | And 6 more authors.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment | Year: 2013

The emerging field of climate-change adaptation has experienced a dramatic increase in attention as the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystems have become more evident. Preparing for and addressing these changes are now prominent themes in conservation and natural resource policy and practice. Adaptation increasingly is viewed as a way of managing change, rather than just maintaining existing conditions. There is also increasing recognition of the need not only to adjust management strategies in light of climate shifts, but to reassess and, as needed, modify underlying conservation goals. Major advances in the development of climate-adaptation principles, strategies, and planning processes have occurred over the past few years, although implementation of adaptation plans continues to lag. With ecosystems expected to undergo continuing climate-mediated changes for years to come, adaptation can best be thought of as an ongoing process, rather than as a fixed endpoint. © The Ecological Society of America.

Cross M.S.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Zavaleta E.S.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Bachelet D.,Conservation Biology Institute | Brooks M.L.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale | And 18 more authors.
Environmental Management | Year: 2012

As natural resource management agencies and conservation organizations seek guidance on responding to climate change, myriad potential actions and strategies have been proposed for increasing the long-term viability of some attributes of natural systems. Managers need practical tools for selecting among these actions and strategies to develop a tailored management approach for specific targets at a given location. We developed and present one such tool, the participatory Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) framework, which considers the effects of climate change in the development of management actions for particular species, ecosystems and ecological functions. Our framework is based on the premise that effective adaptation of management to climate change can rely on local knowledge of an ecosystem and does not necessarily require detailed projections of climate change or its effects. We illustrate the ACT framework by applying it to an ecological function in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, USA)-water flows in the upper Yellowstone River. Wesuggest that the ACT framework is a practical tool for initiating adaptation planning, and for generating and communicating specific management interventions given an increasingly altered, yet uncertain, climate. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.

Ban S.S.,University of Victoria | Alidina H.M.,WWF Canada | Okey T.A.,University of Victoria | Okey T.A.,Ocean Integrity Research | And 2 more authors.
Global Ecology and Conservation | Year: 2016

The effects of climate change on marine ecosystems are accelerating. Identifying and protecting areas of the ocean where conditions are most stable may provide another tool for adaptation to climate change. To date, research on potential marine climate refugia has focused on tropical systems, particularly coral reefs. We examined a northeast Pacific temperate region – Canada's Pacific – to identify areas where physical conditions are stable or changing slowly. We analyzed the rate and consistency of change for climatic variables where recent historical data were available for the whole region, which included sea surface temperature, sea surface height, and chlorophyll a. We found that some regions have been relatively stable with respect to these variables. In discussions with experts in the oceanography of this region, we identified general characteristics that may limit exposure to climate change. We used climate models for sea surface temperature and sea surface height to assess projected future changes. Climate projections indicate that large or moderate changes will occur throughout virtually the entire area and that small changes will occur in only limited portions of the coast. Combining past and future areas of stability in all three examined variables to identify potential climate refugia indicates that only 0.27% of the study region may be insulated from current and projected future change. A greater proportion of the study region (11%) was stable in two of the three variables. Some of these areas overlap with oceanographic features that are thought to limit climate change exposure. This approach allowed for an assessment of potential climate refugia that could also have applications in other regions and systems, but revealed that there are unlikely to be many areas unaffected by climate change. © 2016 The Authors

Mcleod E.,The Nature Conservancy | Szuster B.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Tompkins E.L.,University of Southampton | Marshall N.,James Cook University | And 9 more authors.
Coastal Management | Year: 2015

Climate change threatens tropical coastal communities and ecosystems. Governments, resource managers, and communities recognize the value of assessing the social and ecological impacts of climate change, but there is little consensus on the most effective framework to support vulnerability and adaptation assessments. The framework presented in this research is based on a gap analysis developed from the recommendations of climate and adaptation experts. The article highlights social and ecological factors that affect vulnerability to climate change; adaptive capacity and adaptation options informing policy and conservation management decisions; and a methodology including criteria to assess current and future vulnerability to climate change. The framework is intended for conservation practitioners working in developing countries, small island nations, and traditional communities. It identifies core components that assess climate change impacts on coastal communities and environments at the local scale, and supports the identification of locally relevant adaptation strategies. Although the literature supporting vulnerability adaptation assessments is extensive, little emphasis has been placed on the systematic validation of these tools. To address this, we validate the framework using the Delphi technique, a group facilitation technique used to achieve convergence of expert opinion, and address gaps in previous vulnerability assessments. © 2015, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Staudt A.,National Wildlife Federation | Leidner A.K.,NASA | Howard J.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Brauman K.A.,University of Minnesota | And 5 more authors.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment | Year: 2013

Ecosystems around the world are already threatened by land-use and land-cover change, extraction of natural resources, biological disturbances, and pollution. These environmental stressors have been the primary source of ecosystem degradation to date, and climate change is now exacerbating some of their effects. Ecosystems already under stress are likely to have more rapid and acute reactions to climate change; it is therefore useful to understand how multiple stresses will interact, especially as the magnitude of climate change increases. Understanding these interactions could be critically important in the design of climate adaptation strategies, especially because actions taken by other sectors (eg energy, agriculture, transportation) to address climate change may create new ecosystem stresses. © The Ecological Society of America.

Lawler J.J.,University of Washington | Tear T.H.,Nature Conservancy | Pyke C.,CTG Energetics | Shaw R.M.,Nature Conservancy | And 8 more authors.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment | Year: 2010

Climate change is altering ecological systems throughout the world. Managing these systems in a way that ignores climate change will likely fail to meet management objectives. The uncertainty in projected climate-change impacts is one of the greatest challenges facing managers attempting to address global change. In order to select successful management strategies, managers need to understand the uncertainty inherent in projected climate impacts and how these uncertainties affect the outcomes of management activities. Perhaps the most important tool for managing ecological systems in the face of climate change is active adaptive management, in which systems are closely monitored and management strategies are altered to address expected and ongoing changes. Here, we discuss the uncertainty inherent in different types of data on potential climate impacts and explore climate projections and potential management responses at three sites in North America. The Central Valley of California, the headwaters of the Klamath River in Oregon, and the barrier islands and sounds of North Carolina each face a different set of challenges with respect to climate change. Using these three sites, we provide specific examples of how managers are already beginning to address the threat of climate change in the face of varying levels of uncertainty. © The Ecological Society of America.

Hansen L.,EcoAdapt | Hoffman J.,EcoAdapt | Drews C.,WWF Central America Regional Programme Office | Mielbrecht E.,EcoAdapt
Conservation Biology | Year: 2010

To be successful, conservation practitioners and resource managers must fully integrate the effects of climate change into all planning projects. Some conservation practitioners are beginning to develop, test, and implement new approaches that are designed to deal with climate change. We devised four basic tenets that are essential in climate-change adaptation for conservation: protect adequate and appropriate space, reduce nonclimate stresses, use adaptive management to implement and test climate-change adaptation strategies, and work to reduce the rate and extent of climate change to reduce overall risk. To illustrate how this approach applies in the real world, we explored case studies of coral reefs in the Florida Keys; mangrove forests in Fiji, Tanzania, and Cameroon; sea-level rise and sea turtles in the Caribbean; tigers in the Sundarbans of India; and national planning in Madagascar. Through implementation of these tenets conservation efforts in each of these regions can be made more robust in the face of climate change. Although these approaches require reconsidering some traditional approaches to conservation, this new paradigm is technologically, economically, and intellectually feasible. © 2009 Society for Conservation Biology.

Chinnadurai S.K.,North Carolina State University | Birkenheuer A.J.,North Carolina State University | Blanton H.L.,North Carolina State University | Maggi R.G.,North Carolina State University | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2010

Trapper-killed North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) in North Carolina, USA, were screened for multiple vector-borne bacteria known to be pathogenic to mammals. Blood was collected from 30 carcasses in 2006, from 35 in 2007, and from one live otter in 2008. Samples were screened using conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for DNA from Bartonella spp., Ehrlichia spp., and spotted fever group Rickettsia spp. All samples were negative for Rickettsia spp. Twelve of 30 samples from 2006 produced amplicons using the assay designed to detect Ehrlichia spp., but sequencing revealed that the amplified DNA fragment was from a novel Wolbachia sp., thought to be an endosymbiote of a Dirofilaria sp. Between 2006 and 2007, DNA from a novel Bartonella sp. was detected in 19 of 65 animals (29%). Blood from one live otter captured in 2008 was found positive for this Bartonella sp. by both PCR and culture. The pathogenicity of this Bartonella species in river otters or other mammals is unknown. © Wildlife Disease Association 2010.

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