Article

Environmental Management

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 341-351

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) Framework: A Tool for Incorporating Climate Change into Natural Resource Management

  • Molly S. CrossAffiliated withWildlife Conservation Society Email author 
  • , Erika S. ZavaletaAffiliated withEnvironmental Studies Department, University of California
  • , Dominique BacheletAffiliated withConservation Biology Institute
  • , Marjorie L. BrooksAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Southern Illinois University
  • , Carolyn A. F. EnquistAffiliated withThe Wildlife SocietyUSA National Phenology Network
  • , Erica FleishmanAffiliated withBren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of CaliforniaJohn Muir Institute of the Environment, University of California
  • , Lisa J. GraumlichAffiliated withCollege of the Environment, University of Washington
  • , Craig R. GrovesAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietyThe Nature Conservancy
  • , Lee HannahAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietyCenter for Applied Biodiversity Science (CABS), Conservation International
    • , Lara HansenAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietyEcoAdapt
    • , Greg HaywardAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietyRocky Mountain Regional Office, U.S. Forest Service
    • , Marni KoopmanAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietyGeos Institute
    • , Joshua J. LawlerAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietySchool of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington
    • , Jay MalcolmAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietyFaculty of Forestry, University of Toronto
    • , John NordgrenAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietyKresge Foundation
    • , Brian PetersenAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietyMichigan State University
    • , Erika L. RowlandAffiliated withWildlife Conservation SocietyWildlife Conservation Society
    • , Daniel ScottAffiliated withEnvironmental Studies Department, University of CaliforniaUniversity of Waterloo
    • , Sarah L. ShaferAffiliated withEnvironmental Studies Department, University of CaliforniaU.S. Geological Survey
    • , M. Rebecca ShawAffiliated withEnvironmental Studies Department, University of CaliforniaEnvironmental Defense Fund
    • , Gary M. TaborAffiliated withEnvironmental Studies Department, University of CaliforniaCenter for Large Landscape Conservation

Abstract

As natural resource management agencies and conservation organizations seek guidance on responding to climate change, myriad potential actions and strategies have been proposed for increasing the long-term viability of some attributes of natural systems. Managers need practical tools for selecting among these actions and strategies to develop a tailored management approach for specific targets at a given location. We developed and present one such tool, the participatory Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) framework, which considers the effects of climate change in the development of management actions for particular species, ecosystems and ecological functions. Our framework is based on the premise that effective adaptation of management to climate change can rely on local knowledge of an ecosystem and does not necessarily require detailed projections of climate change or its effects. We illustrate the ACT framework by applying it to an ecological function in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, USA)—water flows in the upper Yellowstone River. We suggest that the ACT framework is a practical tool for initiating adaptation planning, and for generating and communicating specific management interventions given an increasingly altered, yet uncertain, climate.

Keywords

Adaptation Climate change Conservation Decision-making Management Natural resources