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John Gross

Scenario planning has emerged as a widely used planning process for resource management in situations of consequential, irreducible uncertainty. Because it explicitly incorporates uncertainty, scenario planning is regularly employed in climate change adaptation. An early and essential step in developing scenarios is identifying “climate futures”—descriptions of the physical attributes of plausible future climates that could occur at a specific place and time. Divergent climate futures that describe the broadest possible range of plausible conditions support information needs of decision makers, including understanding the spectrum of potential resource responses to climate change, developing strategies robust to...
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Earth is experiencing widespread ecological transformation in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems that is attributable to directional environmental changes, especially intensifying climate change. To better steward ecosystems facing unprecedented and lasting change, a new management paradigm is forming, supported by a decision-oriented framework that presents three distinct management choices: resist, accept, or direct the ecological trajectory. To make these choices strategically, managers seek to understand the nature of the transformation that could occur if change is accepted while identifying opportunities to intervene to resist or direct change. In this article, we seek to inspire a research agenda...
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Natural resource managers are confronted with the pressing challenge to develop conservation plans that address complex ecological and societal needs against the backdrop of a rapidly changing climate. Climate change vulnerability assessments (CCVAs) provide valuable information that helps guide management and conservation actions in this regard. An essential component to CCVAs is understanding adaptive capacity, or the ability of a species to cope with or adjust to climate change. However, adaptive capacity is the least understood and evaluated component of CCVAs. This is largely due to a fundamental need for guidance on how to assess adaptive capacity and incorporate this information into conservation planning...
Abstract (from Conservation Biology): Adaptive capacity (AC)—the ability of a species to cope with or accommodate climate change—is a critical determinant of species vulnerability. Using information on species’ AC in conservation planning is key to ensuring successful outcomes. We identified connections between a list of species’ attributes (e.g., traits, population metrics, and behaviors) that were recently proposed for assessing species’ AC and management actions that may enhance AC for species at risk of extinction. Management actions were identified based on evidence from the literature, a review of actions used in other climate adaptation guidance, and our collective experience in diverse fields of global-change...
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Abstract (from Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment): Assessing the vulnerability of species to climate change serves as the basis for climate-adaptation planning and climate-smart conservation, and typically involves an evaluation of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity (AC). AC is a species’ ability to cope with or adjust to changing climatic conditions, and is the least understood and most inconsistently applied of these three factors. We propose an attribute-based framework for evaluating the AC of species, identifying two general classes of adaptive responses: “persist in place” and “shift in space”. Persist-in-place attributes enable species to survive in situ, whereas the shift-in-space response...
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