Climate adaptation seeks to reduce the vulnerability of biological and social systems to the impacts of climate change. Climate adaptation is a way of managing this change. In some cases, it will involve adjustments to management strategies in light of climate shifts. In other cases, it will require complete reassessments and modification of conservation goals along with new strategies to achieve those goals. As humans adapt to climate change, there are opportunities as well as risks for biodiversity conservation.
The overall goal of this theme is to assess the vulnerability of species to future climate change. Our activities for the next few years are organized in three related directions:
- Species assessments: supporting SSC Specialist Groups in incorporating climate change into their species assessments, including but not limited to the IUCN Red List
- Vulnerability science: supporting the development of novel approaches for advancing the science of assessing risks to biodiversity from climate change
- Guidance and Tools: providing evolving guidance and tools for assessing risks to biodiversity from climate change based on the latest scientific advances
Climate change is already affecting the natural environment. Work of the specialist group has shown how species are evolving in response to warmer temperatures, that the timing of biological events has changed, and that the distribution and abundance of species has shifted through time, affecting the structure of ecological communities. This theme will improve our understanding of these impacts through time, and improve our ability to predict future impacts. We not only consider the direct impacts of climate change on species, but also the impacts of human responses to climate change. Our activities for the next few years are organized into these two directions:
- Direct impacts: to improve understanding of current and potential future impacts of climate change on species and habitats
- Human responses: to improve understanding of the implications of current and future human responses to climate change for species and habitats