Towards a climate change adaptation strategy for national parks: Adaptive management pathways under dynamic risk

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Science and Policy, 2018, 89 pp. 206 - 215
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Government seeks to manage public protected areas, such as national parks, to conserve high-quality wildlife habitats and provide essential ecosystems services at risk of permanent damage or extinction from climate change. The complexity of the organizational structure required to deliver this breadth of functions, coupled to uncertainty surrounding the onset and severity of climate impacts at local scale, impedes planning for climate change. This paper describes the development of an adaptation planning tool and its application in a pilot planning process for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the agency of the New South Wales (NSW) Government (Australia) responsible for management of national parks and public conservation reserves. The process involved close engagement in knowledge co-production in participatory workshops, and employed two complementary techniques, adaptive pathways and risk assessment. It successfully elicited tacit knowledge of agency staff about the range of interventions available, the need for management practices to evolve, and of discontinuities in management pathways in a dynamic risk environment. Findings suggest that management effort across the NSW reserve system will increase as climate risk rises. Consequently, government will need to respond to increased demand for resources, for better targeting of those resources, and for management innovation in how resources are deployed to support adaptation that is both anticipatory and transformative.
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