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Managing Global Change Impacts on Biodiversity
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Overview

The indirect impacts of climate change on biodiversity, through human responses, have not been sufficiently explored, as most of the work regarding the impacts of climate change on biodiversity focuses on the direct impacts (Pacifici et al. 2015). Studies that fail to consider how people are likely to respond to climate change will be systematically biased- a recent peer-reviewed ABCG study demonstrated that while some species ranges will not diminish due to direct impacts of climate change, they are highly likely to suffer habitat loss from human land use changes (Segan et al 2015).

Therefore, this task group will study various coping mechanisms of human communities to climate change and the impacts of these responses on biodiversity. It will use this knowledge to provide guidance on adaptation strategies to conservation organizations and African policymakers that will be the most successful both for the people and for biodiversity.

Activities & Achievements

In ABCG’s first programmatic phase, the group documented unplanned human responses to climate change and their impacts on biodiversity in Africa. The group is now working to continue and scale these activities in its second programmatic phase.

Maps are created using survey data to chart human responses in relation to climate and conservation impacts, including potential adaptation strategies. The maps are analyzed to assess regions where people are likely to demonstrate varied coping strategies (good and bad) and compare them with maps of conservation priorities to determine where human responses are most likely to impact conservation.

ABCG uses this knowledge base to prioritize adaptation strategies that improve biodiversity outcomes while helping people adapt to climate change. ABCG is reaching out within partner organizations and toward African institutions and conservationists to use project results to create effective communication strategies to target audiences that can impact future adaptation strategies.

News & Related Resources

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This video explains the significance of this work and how ABCG is intending to use findings from the study to reduce human vulnerability to climate change while benefitting biodiversity conservation.

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Sinking Deeper: Human Coping Responses to Climate Change Negatively Impacting Nature

Climate change threatens ecosystems and biodiversity throughout the globe, with its effects felt differently from one place to another. Extreme weather, changes in rainfall patterns and shifting seasons are some of the primary effects of climate change. Further, human responses to these effects have the potential to have long-term, negative impacts on natural systems. Effectively managing human adaptation to these effects so as to prevent, or moderate, negative impacts is essential.

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