As a major threat to global biodiversity, climate change will alter where and how we manage conservation lands (e.g., parks, refuges, wildlife management areas, natural areas). As a new challenge with high uncertainty, many conservation practitioners have yet to consider how to minimize their greenhouse gas contributions (i.e., mitigation), or reduce the vulnerability of natural systems to climatechange (i.e., adaptation). This is particularly true for conservation land managers; because they are often pressed for time and resources, few have initiated long-term climate change planning and amended management activities. Furthermore, where available, climate change guidance is often coarse-level, vague, and beyond their purview. To address this gap in knowledge and information transfer, we conducted a comprehensive literature review for mitigation and adaptation in natural resource management. We identified 8 broad management objectives, 31 strategies, and over 100 actions feasible to implement in ecosystems of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes on an individual land parcel. Using this listing of options, a manager can then weigh the costs and benefits of particular actions and compatibility with existing management goals. To aid this, we identify strategies with high potential for incompatibility and where thorough review of local considerations is important. While some actions may be incompatible with current management objectives or unsuitable for a particular property, as decision-makers, land managers and their institutions may select from this large set of site level actions and initiate appropriate, viable mitigation and adaptation activity on conservation lands.
The initial aspect of this project resulted in completion of a report (“Within the Boundaries: Management Options for Conservation Lands in an Era of Climate Change”) that examines the current literature on climate change management objectives, strategies, and actions that are feasible to implement in ecosystems of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. Yet, there is limited understanding of the factors that constrain and promote climate change adaptation by local land managers. We utilized a mixed-methods approach to assess the capacity of land managers to integrate climate adaptation into their work and opportunities that exist to remove barriers and support intentional adaptation. Drawing upon behavioral theory and literature concerning climate adaptation, we identified both internal and external factors that we hypothesized would contribute to managers’ adoption of climate change adaptation strategies. We characterize the degree to which climate change is currently integrated into their work and assess the influence of the various factors on intentional climate change adaptation in a second report (“ Barriers and Opportunites to Managing for Disturbance and Envornmental Change in the Upper Midwest”)
1) Management Options for Conservation Lands in an Era of Climate Change
2) Barriers and Opportunities to Managing for Disturbance and Environmental Change in the Upper Midwest