Science Inventory

Managing Climate Change Refugia for Biodiversity Conservation


Morelli, T., M. Ratnaswamy, D. Dulin, AND Joe Ebersole. Managing Climate Change Refugia for Biodiversity Conservation. International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Honolulu, Hawaii, September 02, 2016.


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress and Forum is world’s largest and most democratic recurring conservation event. The Forum is a hub of public debate, bringing together people from all around the world to discuss and develop solutions to the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges. It will demonstrate innovative, scalable solutions from all areas and from all around the globe to address challenges at local and global levels – from small islands to entire regions, from individual to collective actions. As part of the Forum at the IUCN WCC, we will be presenting a workshop in which we provide an overview of the conceptual basis for climate refugia for a variety of taxa and ecosystem settings. Participants will engage in an interactive dialogue to obtain the latest science on climate refugia, discover some examples of refugia that are being managed internationally, and work through the steps of a framework in order to plan what actions to take in their area of interest. The workshop will target resource managers in local, regional and national government as well as other conservation practitioners. We expect and will encourage a diverse audience that will leave the session both inspired to carry out climate adaptation actions and informed on how to do so. This abstract contributes to ACE CIVA 2.8.


Climate change threatens to create fundamental shifts in in the distributions and abundances of species. Given projected losses, increased emphasis on management for ecosystem resilience to help buffer fish and wildlife populations against climate change is emerging. Such efforts stake a claim for an adaptive, anticipatory planning response to the climate change threat. To be effective, approaches will need to address critical uncertainties in both the physical basis for projected landscape changes, as well as the biological responses of organisms. Recent efforts define future potential climate refugia based on air temperatures and associated microclimatic changes. These efforts reflect the relatively strong conceptual foundation for linkages between regional climate change and local responses and thermal dynamics. Yet important questions remain. Drawing on case studies, we illustrate some key uncertainties in the responses of species and their habitats to altered hydro-climatic regimes currently not well addressed by physical or ecological models. These uncertainties need not delay anticipatory planning, but rather highlight the need for identification and communication of actions with high probabilities of success, and targeted research within an adaptive management framework.In this workshop, we will showcase the latest science on climate refugia and participants will interact through small group discussions, relevant examples, and facilitated dialogue to identify opportunities and challenges for applying refugia, with time for working through examples. The session will catalyze future action by encouraging participants to meet and interact with each other, share their stories, and get inspired to encourage or conduct these actions on the ground.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 09/02/2016
Record Last Revised: 09/16/2016
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 326931