Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 1–29 | Cite as

Adapting systematic conservation planning for climate change

  • April E. Reside
  • Nathalie Butt
  • Vanessa M. Adams
Review Paper


With the high rate of ecosystem change, effective systematic conservation planning must account for ongoing and imminent threats to biodiversity to ensure its persistence. Accordingly, guidance on appropriate conservation actions in the face of climate change has been accumulating. We review this guidance and bring together the key recommendations needed to successfully account for climate change impacts, relevant to the scale at which natural resource management is carried out. We discuss how the traditional conservation tools of protection and restoration need to be adjusted to be effective in the face of climate change. We highlight the conservation innovations such as moveable and temporary reserves, and Targeted Gene Flow. We build on recent work to provide critical advice for considering climate change in conservation planning. In particular, we discuss how stating explicit objectives related to climate change adaptation, quantifying uncertainty, and exploring trade-offs will better place conservation plans to meet objectives for multiple goals such as protection of species, ecosystems, geophysical diversity and ecological processes.


Climate change Connectivity Multiple objective planning Synergies Trade-offs Uncertainty 



This work was funded by the Australian Government through the Regional NRM planning for climate change program. The work was developed through collaboration with Terrain NRM, in particular Penny Scott, and with Catherine Moran and Bob Pressey. Rebecca Runting, Stewart Macdonald and James Watson provided feedback on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10531_2017_1442_MOESM1_ESM.docx (41 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 41 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, College of Marine and Environmental SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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