Conservation of Urban Biodiversity Under Climate Change: Climate-smart Management for Chicago Green Spaces

  • Abigail Derby LewisEmail author
  • Robert K. Moseley
  • Kimberly R. Hall
  • Jessica J. Hellmann
Living reference work entry


Chicago Wilderness, a multistate alliance of more than 300 organizations dedicated to restoring biodiversity, is leading the effort to bridge the gap between climate science and biodiversity adaptation practices in urban natural areas and green spaces. In 2010, Chicago Wilderness completed the Climate Action Plan for Nature (CAPN), which describes potential climate change impacts within the 221,000 ha of protected areas in the region, and actions managers can take to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change. The CAPN represents the first Climate Action Plan to address issues of biodiversity conservation in the Great Lakes region and is the only known example of place-based adaptation strategies for urban biodiversity. This chapter depicts the creation of the Chicago Wilderness Climate Action Initiative and the ensuing work to implement the CAPN, highlighting the challenges and importance of creating landscape level conservation approaches that integrate climate science information into best management practices. This collaborative effort can serve as a model for use in other urban centers.


Biodiversity Urban Climate change Adaptation strategies 



We want to acknowledge the generous funding organizations that made this work possible, including Boeing Corporation, Chicago Department of Environment, National Science Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and Kresge Foundation. We would also like to sincerely thank Chris Mulvaney from the Chicago Wilderness for his continued support and assistance in helping to organize the Climate Change Task Force, Doug Stotz from the Field Museum for his leadership of the Climate Change Task Force, and former Deputy Commissioner for Chicago Department of Environment Aaron Durnbaugh for leading the charge to develop the Climate Considerations Guidebook. None of this work would be possible without the participation and support from Chicago Wilderness members and City of Chicago natural resource managers. Finally, we would like to thank Joyce Coffee, Rob McDonald, Laurel Ross, and Doug Stotz for their thoughtful reviews and insightful comments in helping to develop this chapter.


  1. Alberti M (2005) The effects of urban patterns on ecosystem function. Int Reg Sci Rev 28:168–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Austin JA, Colman SM (2007) Lake Superior summer water temperatures are increasing more rapidly than regional air temperatures: a positive ice-albedo feedback. Geophys Res Lett 34, L06604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blanco H, McCarney P, Parnell S et al (2011) The role of urban land in climate change. In: Rosenzweig C, Solecki WD, Hammer SA, Mehrotra S (eds) Climate change and cities: first assessment report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  4. Brawn JD, Stotz DF (2001) The importance of the Chicago region and the “Chicago Wilderness” initiative for avian conservation. In: Marzluff JM, Bowman R, Donnelly R (eds) Avian ecology and conservation in an urbanizing world. Kluwer, NorwellGoogle Scholar
  5. Bulkeley H, Betsill MM (2013) Revisiting the urban politics of climate change. Environ Policy 22:136–154Google Scholar
  6. Chicago Wilderness (2010) Climate action plan for nature. Version 1.0. Chicago Wilderness, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  7. Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) (2012) Refinement of the Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure Vision, Final Report.
  8. Chicago Wilderness (2008) Climate change and regional biodiversity: a preliminary assessment and recommendations to Chicago Wilderness member organizations. Chicago Wilderness, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  9. City of Chicago (2008) Chicago climate action plan. City of Chicago, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  10. Coffee JE, Parzen J, Wagstaff M, Lewis RS (2010) Preparing for a changing climate: the Chicago climate action plan’s adaptation strategy. J Gt Lakes Res 36(Suppl 2):115–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cook EM, Hale RL, Kinzig AP, Grove MJ (2013) Urban–suburban biodiversity. Encyclopedia Biodivers 7:304–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Egan DJ, Calhoun T, Schott J, Dayananda P (2008) Guide to climate action planning: pathways to a low-carbon campus. National Wildlife Federation, RestonGoogle Scholar
  13. Enarsson L (2011) Climate change adaptation in Stockholm, Sweden. In: Rosenzweig C, Solecki WD, Hammer SA, Mehrotra S (eds) Climate change and cities: first assessment report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  14. Francl KE, Hayhoe K, Saunders M, Mauer EP (2010) Ecosystem adaptation to climate change: small mammal pathways in the Great Lakes states. J Gt Lakes Res 36(Suppl 2):86–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gifford R (2011) The dragons of inaction: psychological barriers that limit climate change mitigation and adaptation. Am Psychol 66:290–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gill S, Handley JF, Ennos AR, Paulet S (2007) Adapting cities for climate change: the role of green infrastructure. Built Environ 33:115–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goddard MA, Dougill AJ, Brown TG (2011) Scaling up from gardens: biodiversity conservation in urban environments. Trends Ecol Evol 25:90–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gronewald AD, Fortin V, Lofgren B, Clites A, Stow CA, Quinn F (2013) Coasts, water levels, and climate change: a Great Lakes perspective. Climatic Change 120:697–711Google Scholar
  19. Hallegatte S (2009) Strategies to adapt to an uncertain climate change. Glob Environ Chang 19:240–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hamin EM, Gurran N (2009) Urban form and climate change: balancing adaptation and mitigation in the U.S. and Australia. Habitat Int 33:238–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hayhoe K, Wuebbles D (2008) Climate change and Chicago: projections and potential impacts. City of Chicago, Chicago, Google Scholar
  22. Hayhoe K, Sheridan S, Kalkstein L, Greene S (2010) Climate change, heat waves, and mortality projections for Chicago. J Gt Lakes Res 36:65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hellmann JJ, Nadelhoffer KJ, Iverson LR et al (2010) Climate change impacts on terrestrial ecosystems in metropolitan Chicago and its surrounding, multi-state region. J Gt Lakes Res 36(Suppl 2):74–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hirsch J, Van Deusen PS, Labenski E, Dunford C, Peters T (2011) Linking climate action to local knowledge and practice: a case study of diverse Chicago neighborhoods. In: Kopnina H, Shoreman-Ouimet E (eds) Environmental anthropology today. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Hostetler M, Allen W, Meurk C (2011) Conserving urban biodiversity? Creating green infrastructure is only the first step. Landsc Urban Plann 100:369–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. ICLEI (No date) U.S. Mayors’ Climate protection agreement: climate action handbook. ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, OaklandGoogle Scholar
  27. Kattwinkel M, Biedermann R, Kleyer M (2011) Temporary conservation for urban biodiversity. Biol Conserv 144:2335–2343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kowarik I (2011) Novel urban ecosystems, biodiversity, and conservation. Environ Pollut 159:1974–1983CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McDonald RI (2013) Implications of urbanization for conservation and biodiversity protection. Encyclopedia Biodivers 7:304–313Google Scholar
  30. McDonald RI, Kareiva P, Forman RTT (2008) The implications of current and future urbanization for global protected areas and biodiversity conservation. Biol Conserv 141:1695–1703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McDonald RI, Green P, Balk D et al (2011) Urban growth, climate change, and freshwater availability. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:6312–6317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Miller JR (2005) Biodiversity conservation and the extinction of experience. Trends Ecol Evol 20:430–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morton TA, Robinovich A, Marshall D, Bretschneider R (2011) The future that may (or may not) come: how framing changes responses to uncertainty in climate change communications. Glob Environ Chang 21:103–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Moskovits DK, Fialkowski CJ, Mueller GM et al (2004) Chicago Wilderness: a new force for conservation. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1023:215–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Norman JB (2012) Terrestrial Movement Analysis for ArcGIS 10 sp4. Colorado State University (unpublished)Google Scholar
  36. Petersen, B, Hall KR, Doran PJ, Kahl KJ In their own words: perceptions of climate change adaptation from the Great Lakes region’s resource management community. Environ Practice (in press)Google Scholar
  37. Poiani KA, Goldman RL, Hobson J, Hoekstra JM, Nelson KS (2011) Redesigning biodiversity conservation projects for climate change: examples from the field. Biodivers Conserv 20:185–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pryor SC, Scavia D (2013) Midwest. In: National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (eds) Third National Climate Assessment (Draft). US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. Riddell J (2009) Our climate challenge. Chicago Wilderness Magazine, Winter 2009Google Scholar
  40. Rosenzweig C, Solecki W, Hammer SA, Mehrotra S (2010) Cities lead the way in climate-change action. Nature 467:909–911CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ross L (1997) The Chicago Wilderness and its critics I. The Chicago Wilderness: a coalition for urban conservation. Restor Manag Notes 15:17–24Google Scholar
  42. Schwartz MW, Hellmann JJ, McLachlan JS (2009) The precautionary principle in managed relocation is misguided advice. Trends Ecol Evol 24:474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stone B, Vargo J, Habeeb D (2012) Managing climate change in cities: will climate action plans work? Landsc Urban Plann 107:263–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sullivan RG, Clark M (2007) Can biodiversity survive global warming? Chicago Wilderness J 5:2–13Google Scholar
  45. Turner WR, Oppenheimer M, Wilcove D (2009) A force to fight global warming. Nature 462:278–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. US Environmental Protection Agency (2012) Developing a plan.
  47. Vavrus S, Van Dorn J (2010) Projected future temperature and precipitation extremes in Chicago. J Gt Lakes Res 36(Suppl 2):22–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wang Y, Moskovits DK (2001) Tracking fragmentation of natural communities and changes in land cover: applications of Landsat data for conservation of urban landscapes (Chicago Wilderness). Conserv Biol 15:835–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wang J, Bai X, Hu H, Clites A, Colton M, Lofgren B (2012) Temporal and spatial variability of Great Lakes ice cover, 1973–2010. J Climate 25:1318–1329, CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wheeler SM (2008) State and municipal climate change plans: the first generation. J Am Plann Assoc 74:481–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wuebbles D, Hayhoe K, Parzen J (2010) Introduction: assessing the effects of climate change on Chicago and the Great Lakes. J Gt Lakes Res 36(Suppl 2):1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abigail Derby Lewis
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Robert K. Moseley
    • 3
  • Kimberly R. Hall
    • 4
  • Jessica J. Hellmann
    • 5
  1. 1.The Field MuseumChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Chicago WildernessChicagoUSA
  3. 3.The Nature ConservancyPeoriaUSA
  4. 4.The Nature ConservancyLansingUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Change InitiativeUniversity of Notre DameIndianaUSA

Personalised recommendations