Climate and Conservation
7 x 10
43 photos and illustrations
7 x 10
43 photos and illustrations
Climate and Conservation presents case studies from around the world of leading-edge projects focused on climate change adaptation-regional-scale endeavors where scientists, managers, and practitioners are working to protect biodiversity by protecting landscapes and seascapes in response to threats posed by climate change.
The book begins with an introductory section that frames the issues and takes a systematic look at planning for climate change adaptation. The nineteen chapters that follow examine particular case studies in every part of the world, including landscapes and seascapes from equatorial, temperate, montane, polar, and marine and freshwater regions. Projects profiled range from North American grasslands to boreal forests to coral reefs to Alpine freshwater environments.
Chapter authors have extensive experience in their respective regions and are actively engaged in working on climate-related issues. The result is a collection of geographical case studies that allows for effective cross-comparison while at the same time recognizing the uniqueness of each situation and locale.
Climate and Conservation offers readers tangible, place-based examples of projects designed to protect large landscapes as a means of conserving biodiversity in the face of the looming threat of global climate change. It informs readers of how a diverse set of conservation actors have been responding to climate change at a scale that matches the problem, and is an essential contribution for anyone involved with large-scale biodiversity conservation.
PART I. Setting the Context
Chapter 1. Change Science, Impacts, and Opportunities \ Charles C. Chester, Jodi A. Hilty, and Stephen C. Trombulak
Chapter 2. Landscape and Seascape Climate Change Planning and Action \ Molly S. Cross, Anne M. Schrag, Evan H. Girvetz, and Carolyn A. F. Enquist
PART II. Equatorial Landscapes
Chapter 3. Albertine Rift, Africa \ Anton Seimon and Andrew Plumptre
Chapter 4. The Brazilian Amazon \ Eneas Salati, Marc Dourojeanni, Agenor Mundim, Gilvan Sampaio, and Thomas Lovejoy
Chapter 5. Mesoamerican Biological Corridor \ Margaret Buck Holland
PART III. Temperate and Mediterranean Landscapes
Chapter 6. Boreal Forest, Canada \ Meg Krawchuk, Kim Lisgo, Shawn Leroux, Pierre Vernier, Steve Cumming, and Fiona Schmiegelow
Chapter 7. Cape Floristic Region, South Africa \ Lee Hannah, Dave Panitz, and Guy Midgley
Chapter 8. Eastern Mongolian Grassland Steppe \ Evan H. Girvetz, Robert McDonald, Michael Heiner, Joseph Kiesecker, Galbadrakh Davaa, Chris Pague, Matthew Durnin, and Enkhtuya Oidov
Chapter 9. Northern Great Plains, North America \ Anne M. Schrag and Steve Forrest
Chapter 10. Washington State, USA \ Meade Krosby, Jennifer R. Hoffman, Joshua J. Lawler, and Brad H. McRae
PART IV. Freshwater and Seascapes
Chapter 11. Alps Freshwater, Europe \ Leopold F üreder, Thomas Waldner, Aurelia Ullrich-Schneider, and Thomas Scheurer
Chapter 12. Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, Asia \ Brian D. Smith and Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur
Chapter 13. Vatu-i-Ra Seascape, Fiji \ Stacy Jupiter, Caleb McClennen, and Elizabeth Matthews
Chapter 14. Wider Caribbean Region \ Marianne Fish
PART V. Montane Landscapes
Chapter 15. Altai-Sayan, Eurasia \ Yuri Badenkov, Tatyana Yashina, and Graeme Worboys
Chapter 16. Great Eastern Ranges, Australia \ Ian Pulsford, Graeme Worboys, Gary Howling, and Thomas Barrett
Chapter 17. Madrean Sky Islands, North America \ Laura L ópez-Hoffman and Adrian Quijada-Mascare ñas
Chapter 18. The Northern Appalachian/Acadian Ecoregion, North America \ Stephen C. Trombulak, Robert F. Baldwin, Joshua J. Lawler, Jeffrey Hepinstall-Cymerman, and Mark A. Anderson
Chapter 19. Yellowstone to Yukon, North America \ Charles C. Chester, Jodi A. Hilty, and Wendy L. Francis
PART VI. Polar Land to Seascapes
Chapter 20. Arctic Alaska, USA \ Steve Zack and Joe Liebezeit
Chapter 21. Antarctica \ David Ainley and Tina Tin
PART VII. Lessons Learned
Chapter 22. Moving Forward on Climate Change Science Planning and Action \ Jodi A. Hilty, Molly S. Cross, and Charles C. Chester
About the Authors
In honor of the first presidential debate tonight beteween Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, we asked Island Press authors: "If you were advisor to the president, what would your top priority be and why?" Check out their answers, in their own words, below.
I'd urge the President to act on every possible opportunity to reduce the influence of money in the political process, because until that happens it will be increasingly difficult to make progress on anything else.
-Dan Fagin, Toms River
Maintaining and extending the collaborative relationship with the Republic of Mexico over the shared waters of the Colorado River should be a sustained priority. The 2012 agreement known as "Minute 319", signed in 2012, included important water sharing provisions and for the first time allowed water to be returned to the desiccated Colorado River for the environment and the communities of Mexico. The deal was an important milestone, but it was only a temporary agreement. We need permanent solutions to the overuse of the Colorado River, and sustaining our partnership with Mexico is a critical piece.
-John Fleck, Water is for Fighting Over
1) Ending farm subsidies and other protection/promotion of food crops.
2) Embracing GMO neutrality.
3) Ending federal support for state unpasteurized (raw) milk bans.
4) Reining in the FDA.
5) Ending the federal ban on sales of locally slaughtered meat.
6) Ending federal policies that promote food waste.
7) Improving food safety and choice by requiring good outcomes, rather than mandating specific processes.
8) Ending the federal ban on distilling spirits at home.
9) Deregulating the cultivation of hemp.
-Baylen Linnekin, Biting the Hands that Feed Us
For more elaboration on these bullets, see Linnekin’s full article on Reason.
My advice to a presidential candidate would be to recall the words of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “The good thing about science is that its true whether or not you believe in it.” Natural forces are at work that will have adverse consequences, many of which are diametrically opposed to our national interests. Global climate change, the spread of vector borne diseases, and the rampant overuse of nonrenewable and renewable resources are just three such forces currently in play. The decisions that you make during your tenure will be pivotal relative to the health and well-being of our citizens, as well as the citizens of the world. Recognize the fact that you are governing, just as Lincoln did, during a period of history that will resonate for centuries to come. Make wise environmental decisions even if they are not necessarily politically advantageous. Our futures depend upon it.
-Alan Kolok, Modern Poisons
“I would urge the President to take strong action to pass climate change legislation in Congress. The form that climate change legislation would take would depend on the politics, but it is imperative that the U.S. begins to lead the world to action on climate change. Climate change isn’t even my own professional issue of focus (I would love to talk to the President about how to make our cities more resilient, green, and livable), but it seems to me clearly the crisis issue. Every major scientific study that is coming out is pointing toward serious consequences of climate change, happening now. Rather than thinking about climate change that will impact my kids’ lives, I am realizing it will deeply impact my own as well.”
-Rob McDonald, Conservation for Cities
If I had a chance to sit face-to-face with the winning candidate, my advice would be something like: Think about the welfare of our grandchildren when you make decisions on energy and environmental issues. Consider not just the short-term impacts but the long-term consequences of sea-level rise, extreme weather events, droughts, and loss of agricultural land. Set an example for reducing carbon emissions based on energy efficiency and renewable energy that can serve as a model for developing countries. Listen to our climate scientists and heed their warnings. Trust their advice on global warming in the same way you trust the advice of your physician with regard to your personal health.
-Charles Eley, Design Professional’s Guide to Zero Net Energy Buildings
I would push for the next President to try again (yes, again!) to work on bipartisan climate action, perhaps with a revenue-neutral carbon tax like the Initiative 732 campaign that I’m a part of in Washington State. We’re proud to have endorsements from three Republicans in the state legislature as well as from a bunch of Democrats. The short-sighted opposition from some left-wing groups (including some mainstream “environmental” groups) highlights the risk of making climate change a partisan wedge issue for electing Democrats instead of an existential issue for all Americans. We need to try harder to build a big tent for lasting climate action, and that’s one one reason I’m so fond of the quote at the end of this NYT story (about the failed attempt by enviros to win control of the Washington State legislature for the Democrats in Nov 2014): “The most important thing is to normalize this issue [climate change] with Republicans,” said Mark Mellman, a Democratic strategist. “Anything that makes it more partisan makes it less likely that there will be legislation, until such time as Democrats take over the world. Which according to my watch, will not be happening anytime soon.”
-Yoram Bauman, Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change
I would urge the President to reassert cross-departmental efforts such as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities to further empower local governments and constituents to meet ongoing challenges of urban development, because those challenges of land use, transportation, affordability will not be entirely met by private market solutions. I would also advise that the new administration investigate further centralizing resources relevant to urban areas, and evaluate (as was once proposed by Richard Florida) a new cabinet-level position focused on cities and rapidly urbanizing areas. Finally, I would suggest to the President that the federal government should lead by example by illustrating methods to elevate civic dialogue, including program development and funding to encourage individuals to obtain firsthand knowledge of the cities around them through careful observation and input into urban political and regulatory processes.
-Charles Wolfe, Seeing the Better City
Challenging as this will be even to try, much less accomplish, the next President should work to return a spirit of compromise and cooperation to the American political conversation. On the current course, no real progress toward environmental or social sustainability is possible. The impacts of climate change and demographic pressure are now becoming obvious to people of all political persuasions. Growing awareness may eventually offer room for fresh policy ideas: a carbon tax with proceeds turned into dividends and a universal basic income for all citizens, access for all to comprehensive sexuality education and reproductive health services, and humane and sustainable migration law.
-Robert Engelman, More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want
As much as climate change will affect the United States, we likely have the capacity to adapt more effectively than most other countries—at least in terms of human welfare. At the same time, US demand for foreign goods and services is not going away; I, for one, don’t care what you say about the damn environment—I’m having my morning cup of tea or coffee come hell or high water (the latter an increasingly distinct possibility). If my personal recalcitrance is at all reflective of our national attitude, we nonetheless ought to be striving for a broadly-defined international stance that fully and coherently accounts for climate change. Specifically, in a world where the actions of our friends and our enemies will be increasingly defined by surging resource constraints (as well as “releases”—think Arctic oil…), our next President should focus on integrating foreign aid, fair trade, free trade, and military/security policy in a way that anticipates the incoming tsunami of threats—and opportunities—posed by climate chaos.
-Charles Chester, Climate and Conservation
In general terms, I believe the wealth of the nation lies in two areas: natural resources and human resources. As a matter of national defense priority, these areas require policy attention at the national level. Attending to these issues requires commitment and collaboration among all political, ethnic, religious and socio-economic affiliations—it is time for the adults to take charge. In particular, it will be necessary to harness their combined strengths in a public and private partnership initiative. An outline of my top priorities topics includes the following:
Natural Resources/Climate Change:
-Michael Murphy, Landscape Architecture Theory, Second Edition
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read Glenn Beck’s recent commentary in the New York Times. “The only way for our society to work is for each of us to respect the views of others, and even try to understand and empathize with one another,” he wrote. He took the words right out of my mouth. And so, Glenn and I urge the next President to do exactly that, reach across the aisle, connect with the great diversity of people and views in this country, and with respect and empathy seek to understand.
-Lucy Moore, Common Ground on Hostile Turf
Given the evident impact of rampant development pressures and climate change on our nation’s wildlife populations and diverse ecosystems, I urge the next President to endorse and promote a strong federal leadership role in collaborative landscape-scale planning efforts among federal, state, tribal, and private landowners in order to ensure our natural heritage is conserved for present and future generations.
-Robert Keiter, To Conserve Unimpaired
Dear Future POTUS,
The U.S. must be consumed with the urgent goal of retooling the energy infrastructure of our country and the world. Cooperatively mobilizing with other nations, our government—we, the people—must immediately, using all just and complementary means at our disposal—e.g., directives, incentives, and disincentives—close down fossil fuel operations and facilitate replacing coal, oil, and gas dependencies with cradle-to-cradle manufacture and ecologically and socially sensitive installation of ready, climate-responsible technologies, including locally scaled wind turbines, geothermal plants, and solar panels.
No less urgently, as a globally-responsible facilitator, the U.S.—members of all administrative branches together with the citizenry who have chosen them—must, with forthright honesty and transparency, support a matured narrative of progress that is alluring across political spectrums. This story must redefine power to integrate economic prosperity with other commonly held values—such as equality, justice, democratic liberty, and skillful love for land that interpenetrates with human health and flourishing. It must recall people to ourselves and each other not as mere individual consumers, but as diverse, empowered, capably caring members—across generations—of families, neighborhoods, and of the whole ecosphere of interdependencies—bedrock to sunlight—the source of Earth’s life.
Julianne Lutz Warren, Plain member of the U.S. and Earth, and author of Aldo Leopold’s Odyssey, Tenth Anniversary Edition
Katharine is the Publicity & Marketing Associate at Island Press.
I’m on a site tour, standing with a group of dedicated conservation advocates in a field just outside of Troy, Montana. It’s a truly unimpressive place. A nondescript forested ridge lies in the far distance, a couple of well-kept houses and not-so-well-kept shacks are strewn about in the near distance, I look down to see some nondescript scrub under our feet—and then there’s the rural highway behind me. A land trust official is talking about how we protected this place, how really exciting this is, how it constitutes a breakthrough for the region, how we should be really happy and proud, et cetera, et cetera. My mind drifts off…and in this case it’s to pornography. Yes, porn—but not the regular type. Rather, I’m a big fan of ecoporn. A sucker for it actually, can’t keep my eyes off it. And because we’re here in mid-March, it is very much on my mind since it’s been less than a week since I got around to that momentous annual decision: Which nature calendar to pin-up on my office wall for (what remains of) this year? It’s the same dilemma every twelve (or so) months, and as ever, I’m completely frustrated by the socially unacceptable practice of hanging multiple calendars in my office. Should I go with the Sierra Club’s calendar? World Wildlife Fund’s? The Nature Conservancy’s? Defenders of Wildlife’s? They are all so beautiful, so enticing, so…sexy. Yes, maybe some are more seductive or stimulating than others, but they’re all real good. To paraphrase one incisive and layered definition of ecoporn (see the note on sources below), it’s two-dimensional material that offers comfort to the viewer, that offers gratification without social cost, that satiates by providing objects for fantasy without making uncomfortable demands, and that will always be there, ideal, unblemished, and available. And just as women are trivialized by pornography, as another commentator put it, landscapes are trivialized by ecoporn: We make pilgrimage to the objects we have admired on calendars and trample the habitats of other species or exterminate them for their inconvenience to our viewing pleasure. In the process, our perceptions have been blunted and perverted, just like those of the readers of Playboy.
Is this harsh? Should we all be blushing at the sight of our nature wall calendars? I get the point of these critiques, and I accept that they are making a point that deserves serious and lasting consideration. Yet I know that when I gaze at, say, Ansel Adams’ stark portrait of Yosemite’s Half Dome, I’m not exactly saying to myself: “Yowza, what an awesome fantasy—and how great is it that it comes at no social cost!” Rather, I’m usually just thinking: “Wow.” Which is to say that I do not have the psychological, moral, or poetic insight that would allow me to say anything profound or game-changing regarding whether or not we should abhor ecoporn. I do, however, think there’s a parallel to be drawn here to historian William Cronon’s now (in)famous essay, “The Trouble with Wilderness.” That article drove many wilderness defenders nuts, and generated a tremendous debate within the conservation community over the role of wilderness—or the concept of wilderness—in environmental history. Cronon covers a lot of ground in that essay, but whatever one thinks of Cronon’s numerous arguments, there’s one on which all combatants in the debate could agree: viz., that wilderness should never be used as an excuse, conscious or unconscious, to allow for the degradation of the environments within which people live their daily lives. My wilderness advocate friends would say “no duh,” but I think it was a worthwhile point for Cronon to emphasize to disinterested lay readers (of which there may have been three or four). Similarly, whether or not one considers a glorious picture of the Grand Canyon or the Great Barrier Reef as constituting “ecoporn,” we should not let those pictures trick us into thinking that these are the only places worth protecting. That is, our innate and/or culturally induced attraction to the monumental and the spectacular may or may not be problematic, but whatever it is, we should not let it detract from our capacity to perceive the value—sometimes the extremely high value—in what may not be all that monumental or spectacular.
Which brings me back to this G-rated plot of land where I’m shuffling my feet, nodding my head in what I pray looks like sage agreement with whatever the land trust official is telling me about how important the place is. As it turns out, this is where grizzly bears cross the road to make their way from one relatively secure area to another, and we know this because of the many years of hard work by bear biologists, road ecologists, and the people and institutions who both financially and logistically support their work. The group I’m with at this particular time, the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, has ponied up a sizeable portion of the purchase price of the land, and looking around, it’s patently obvious that we aren’t spending all this money because you’d want a picture of this place on your wall. You might think we’re doing it because Y2Y hasn’t produced a calendar in a couple of years and we figured what the hell…but no, that’s not the case. Rather, it is due to our initial investment in conservation science that we know that this is the right place to focus our conservation action.
This all may seem a bit strange, particularly given that Yellowstone to Yukon bookends itself between two iconic names that resonate with Americans and Canadians (or, as the critics might put it, that Y2Y stretches between two XXX ecoporn studios). No doubt, from its origins Y2Y has been a conscious and deliberate approach to turning heads and focusing people’s attention. But here’s what’s so critical about the idea of Y2Y: those spectacular bookends highlight the connected character of what lies in between. As a conservation geography, Y2Y is vast; if you superimposed the outline of Y2Y on a map of the east coast, it would stretch from the Gulf of Mexico to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninusula. From its first conception, the rationale for Y2Y has largely focused on the needs of large animals that survive by moving across this enormous landscape, between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Yukon. With the looming threat of climate change, that rationale has only become part of a more urgent emphasis on protecting the land; Y2Y and 18 other geographic case studies of large landscape conservation responses to climate change are highlighted in Climate and Conservation: Landscape and Seascape Science Planning and Action. So I try to put it all together. Here I am, a conservation supporter who originally got in this game at least partly due to an ecoporn addiction to the spectacularly monumental. Subsequent to that immersion into conservation, my latent conservationist ideals have been informed and enriched by the idea that we need to protect large landscapes. That knowledge in turn led me to get involved in one of the largest landscape efforts on the planet—viz., Yellowstone to Yukon. Finally, that involvement has brought me to this comparatively bland point on the map where we’re spending a lot of money to protect something the size of (and what, frankly, looks like) a cow pasture. And by making sure that this pasture doesn’t become ranchettes or gas stations, we are doing the critical work of protecting the continent’s wildlife. How strong is this causal chain? I’m not sure, but I’m not at the point where I can swear off ecoporn. To try to keep myself mindful, I have tacked up a picture of this plot of land next to this year’s calendar. It ain’t pretty, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. By the way, I went with The Wilderness Society’s calendar; it starts the year with a spectacular photo of Grand Tetons, and I can live with January showing for a little while—I never actually use the calendar anyways.
Source notes: The first definition for ecoporn comes from Lydia Millet’s High Country News article, “Die, baby harp seal! It's time for environmentalism to get ugly,” which was later reprinted in Utne Reader as “Ecoporn exposed.” The second comes from Jose Knighton’s essay, “Ecoporn and the manipulation of desire,” which was originally published in WildEarth (Spring 1993) and then reprinted in Wild earth: Wild ideas for a world out of balance (Milkweed 2002, edited by Tom Butler). It’s worth noting that the earliest reference to “ecoporn” I was able to find comes from the 1980 edited volume, The new environmental handbook, which contained an essay entitled “The new, improved ecopornography.” However, author Tom Turner used the term in reference to “image advertising” by large corporations—what we largely call “greenwashing” today. Maybe we should have left it at that.
Charles C. Chester teaches global environmental politics at Brandeis University and the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where he is an adjunct assistant professor of international environmental policy. He is the author of Conservation Across Borders: Biodiversity in an Interdependent World and co-author of Climate and Conservation: Landscape and Seascape Science, Planning, and Action.