Reframing ecosystem management in the era of climate change: Issues and knowledge from forests

Mori, A.S. et al., 2013. Biological Conservation

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Abstract

Climate change is one of the significant concerns in land and resource management, creating an urgent need to build social-ecological capacity to address widespread and uncertain environmental changes. Given the diversity and complexity of ecological responses to climate change “ecosystem management” approaches are needed to provide solutions for meeting both ecological and human needs, while reducing anthropogenic warming and climate-related impacts on society. For instance, ecosystem management can contribute to a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions through improved land-use and reduced deforestation at a regional scale. Further, conserving and restoring naturally-functioning ecosystems, which is often one of the goals of ecosystem management can significantly contribute to buffering ecological responses to climate extremes such as droughts and wildfires. Moreover, ecosystem management helps build capacity for learning and adaptation at multiple scales. As a result, societies will be better prepared to respond to surprises and uncertainties associated with climate change. In this regard, it is imperative to reframe climate change issues based on the ecosystem approach. Although climate change and ecosystem management plans have largely developed independently, it is now essential for all stakeholders to work together to achieve multiple goals. The ecosystem-based approaches can enable flexible and effective responses to the uncertainties associated with climate change. Reframing ecosystem management helps to face an urgent need for reconsideration and improvement of social-ecological resilience in order to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate.

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