March 2, 2015
Nature is on the move. As the impacts of climate change reveal themselves, species and ecosystems are moving in response. This poses a fundamental challenge to conservation organizations–how do you conserve something that won’t stay still? The paper, published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, argues that conservation organizations need to be bolder in their adaptation efforts given the rate and extent of the ecological changes that are coming. As the climate warms and other global changes progress, species move outside their historical ranges, new ecological communities form and ecosystems transition to new states. Moreover, scientists are predicting that these changes will accelerate in the future. “If you are an organization that has focused on conserving particular species in a particular place, as many of today’s conservation organizations are, then something has to give–either you need to change your business model or revisit your conservation priorities. And neither is going to be easy for some of these groups,” said Paul Armsworth, lead author and associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.