Date: 09 May 2008

Climate change adaptation and regional forest planning in southern Yukon, Canada

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Abstract

Recent interest in sustainable forest management planning in the Yukon has coincided with growing public awareness of climate change, providing an opportunity to explore how forestry plans are incorporating climate change. In this paper, the Strategic Forest Management Plans for the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Traditional Territory (CATT) and the Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territory (TTTT) are examined for evidence of adaptation to climate change. For each plan, management policies and practices that are also recognized as ways to adapt to climate change are identified to provide information on the incremental costs and benefits of additional adaptation efforts. A typology for classifying sustainable forest management plans according to how they address climate change is proposed and applied to the CATT and TTTT plans. This typology, which may be useful to any future retrospective assessments on how successful these or other sustainable forest management plans have been in addressing and managing the risks posed by climate change, consists of a matrix that categorizes plans into one of four types; (1) proactive-direct, (2) proactive-indirect, (3) reactive-direct, and (4) reactive-indirect. Neither of the plans available for the southern Yukon explicitly identifies climate change vulnerabilities and actions that will be taken to reduce those vulnerabilities and manage risks. However, both plans have incorporated some examples of ‘best management practices’ for sustainable forest management that are also consistent with appropriate climate adaptation responses. Even in a jurisdiction facing rapid ecological changes driven by climate change, where there is a relatively high level of awareness of climate change and its implications, forestry planning processes have yet to grapple directly with the risks that climate change may pose to the ability of forest managers to achieve the stated goals and objectives of sustainable forest management plans.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11027-008-9148-3