Af04 ensuring that biodiversity can keep up with a changing climate
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AF04 Ensuring that biodiversity can keep up with a changing climate. Graham von Maltitz With input from Jenny Cooper, Greg Hughes, Guy Midgley and Caroline Geldenblom. The problem relating to conservation and climate change. Medium level of formal protection

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AF04 Ensuring that biodiversity can keep up with a changing climate

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AF04Ensuring that biodiversity can keep up with a changing climate

Graham von Maltitz

With input from Jenny Cooper, Greg Hughes, Guy Midgley and Caroline Geldenblom

The problem relating to conservation and climate change

  • Medium level of formal protection

  • Not strategically located – historic

  • Fragmented reserves and management

  • Managed to pre-colonization ideal

  • No account for impacts of a changing climate

  • High and rapid prediction of climatically introduced distribution changes

What do we mean by adaptation

  • Ability of society to put in place processes to mitigate the impacts of a changing climate on biodiversity.

    NB. Must not confuse with biological impacts and adaptation. Biodiversity can respond by:

    • Moving

    • Evolving

    • Going extinct

Why save biodiversity

  • Rights based approach

  • Environmental services

    • Catchment hydrology

    • Soil conservation

    • C02 sequestration

  • Future options

  • Direct use values

  • Direct financial and economic benefits

    • Eg tourism

Why save biodiversity (cont.)

  • Our approach is not to debate the value of the biodiversity, but to start with the assumption that all biodiversity should ideally be conserved and then look at the economic consequences and efficiency of different adaptation options.

What are the adaptation options

  • Do nothing different

    • Still has a cost

    • Has an impact

  • Re-configure or add to the reserves network

    • Very high cost

  • Facilitate translocation

    • Already common with animals (but to historic locations)

    • Not practices with plants insects etc.

What are the adaptation options(cont.)

  • Ex-situ conservation – zoos, botanical gardens, gene banks

    • High cost

    • Can only conserve few individuals

  • Manage the Matrix

    • Needs incentives

    • Likely to be most cost effective

    • Possibility of integrating biodiversity conservation into livelihood strategies

Ability of species to move through non-conserved areas (the matrix)

  • Species dependant

    • Some birds may find urban gardens as favorable as forests

    • Most birds can move long distance between suitable habitats

    • Ploughed fields may be suitable habitat for many ‘weedy’ species

    • Late succession species may be restricted to establishing in a mature habitat

Options trees for deciding on strategies

  • Three scenarios on how individual species will be impacted by climatic change

    • Persistors – will remain in a suitable habitat

    • Migrators – will have to move to new habitats

    • No hopers – will lose all habitats


Matrix Management

1) Persistors


Protected Area


Matrix Management & reserves

2) Migrators

Matrix Management

Good Matrix

In reach

Plan (facilitated)

Bad Matrix




Out reach

Genebank/ Bot Gdns

3) No hopers

No envelope

Ex situ

Cryopreservation/ Zoo & Breeding Programme

Incentives to landowners to manage the matrix for biodiversity

  • Education and awareness

  • Recognition

  • Tax rebates

  • Direct subsidies

  • Supportive policy framework

  • Economic forces (wildlife management is currently an economically attractive land use)

Distinguishing between individual and communal land tenure

  • Different types of incentive schemes and regulation mechanisms

  • Importance of local level resource management structures

  • Devolution of ownership

  • Economic incentives

  • Poverty reduction

Where to next

  • Better understanding of the cost and benefits of different options

  • Education and awareness

  • Changing of perceptions

  • Planning for a changing, rather than a static environment.

Tentative conclusions

  • Can no longer plan for a constant world

  • Need to change mindsets to understand impacts of changing climate

  • Matrix management is probably the most important strategy

  • Some species are likely to lose all of their habitat

Thank you

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