Climate change adaptation in Protected Areas – From theory to practice.

During the webinar, we looked at outcomes from the Natur’Adapt project on climate change in Protected Areas. As a matter of introduction, Ainhize Butrón Mota, IHOBE, gave a thought-provoking presentation about the psychological barriers (dragons) that lead to inaction in the face of climate change. Then, through case studies from Spain and England by José Atauri Mezquida, EUROPARC-Spain and Simon Duffield, Natural England respectively, participants went through important learnings on the process and practice of planning for climate change adaptation in protected areas.

We can take away from those presentations that:

  • It is all about fighting dragons. We learned that if climate is changing, and we are not acting it is because adaptation is a more of a societal problem.
  • Adaptation must happen in the field, locally. It is important to bridge global trends with local specificities, to empower staff locally and make science accessible.
  • Although uncertain, global changes are here to stay. We need to develop a management culture that is dynamic and inclusive in Protected Areas.

Luckily, experience shows us that climate change adaptation measures are usually in line with existing good management practices.

Recordings and presentation material:

Climate is changing. Why are we not acting? Introduction
By Ainhize Butron (IHOBE)

Protected Areas are at a crossroad due to climate change. A myriad of studies and researches have been published over recent years underlying the paramount importance of adapting to climate change. Yet, we are still not acting. Why? The point of no return is approaching and the protected areas may be put into jeopardy.

Although climate and biodiversity crisis are different, their solutions overlap. Biodiversity managers benefit from this opportunity to put the contribution of biodiversity to society higher in the political agenda. Let us talk about messages.

Ainhize Butron is a biologist and holds a PhD in Ecology. Since 2008 she is biodiversity and climate change specialist at Ihobe, the public institution of the Basque Government’s Ministry for the Environment (Spain). In 2014, she started focusing on climate change adaptation promoting Nature-Based Solutions among Basque municipalities. She is responsible for the climate risk assessment of the Basque Country Natura 2000 Network and coordinates the development of tools for stakeholders and managers to adapt the Natura 2000 Network to climate change. She is member of the  EUROPARC Climate Change Task Force.

A pilot case in a Mediterranean protected landscape
By José Antonio Atauri (EUROPARC-Spain/FUNGOBE)

Although the effects of climate change are already evident, it is rarely addressed in Protected Area management plans, largely due to the lack of methodologies and clear management criteria. The procedure for considering adaptation to climate change in the process of drafting the management plan for the protected landscape of Sierra de Santo Domingo (Zaragoza) is presented. Its main interest is due to its high vulnerability, as it is a transition zone between bioclimatic zones.

José Antonio Atauri has a PhD in ecology. He has worked in landscape ecology and planning in protected areas. Since 2005 he works at EUROPARC-Spain where he has coordinated the manual “Protected Areas in the Face of Global Change: Climate Change Adaptation in Planning and Management”.

Assessment of evidences in 60+ reserves in England
By Simon Duffield (ENCA / Natural England)

National Nature Reserves (NNRs) form part of a wider UK network of protected areas and include some of the best examples of England’s wildlife. Natural England developed a methodology to embed climate change adaptation into the long term vision and management of the NNRs they manage. The approach combines the latest scientific information on projected climate change and the likely impact on the natural environment with on the ground detailed knowledge of the state and vulnerability of the key features of the reserves. The methodology takes site managers through four steps (projected change – impacts – vulnerability – response) to enable them to identify appropriate adaptation for their reserves without the need for assistance from climate change specialists.

Simon Duffield is a senior climate change specialist at Natural England and chairs the ENCA climate change interest group. My role as a climate change specialist at Natural England involves using an understanding of the likely direct and indirect impacts of climate change to devise appropriate adaptation and mitigation for and by the natural environment.

Conclusions – Looking over the fence
By Olivier de Sadeleer (EUROPARC Federation)

Olivier de Sadeleer is a project manager for the EUROPARC Federation. He represents the “voice” of European Protected Areas in the LIFE project ‘Natur’Adapt’. Holding an MA in cultural anthropology, Olivier brings his passion for wilderness and long-standing experience in business development & communication (incl. digital) to help increase the impact of EUROPARC.

All logos Natur'adapt climate change workshop

This webinar is organised by the EUROPARC Federation with the support of ENCA, IHOBE and FUNGOBE in the framework of the LIFE Natur’Adapt project. LIFE Natur’Adapt [LIFE17 CCA/FR/000089] NaturAdapt is a 5-year project developed with the support of the LIFE Program, Office Français de la Biodiversité and Ministère français de la Transition Ecologique et Solidaire