Integrative propositions for adapting conservation policy to the impacts of climate change

Hagerman, S; Dowlatabadi, H; Chan, KMA; Satterfield, T. 2010. Integrative propositions for adapting conservation policy to the impacts of climate change. GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE-HUMAN AND POLICY DIMENSIONS 20 (2): 351-362.

This text focuses on establishing rules of thumb, inspired by work in multiple disciplines, as the basis of a framework approach for restoration and conservation objective setting and management strategies. As stated by the authors in the concluding remarks, the "propositions are not prescriptive...they raise numerous scientific, social, and ethical question that require further empirical research". The paper does not present new information, but synthesizes existing findings, sometimes from disparate industries/sectors in a new form.

This is an interesting thought piece for those interested in the high level concepts that drive the way policy, funding, and implementation decisions have historically been driven, and suggests a paradigm change - for example a triage approach - to how these factors could be driven going forward. The gargantuan, structural, issues are touched on in a broad sense.

Some of the "heurestics" (rules) and propositions come across to me, as a seasoned student of a Restoration Ecology seminar for 2 months, as obvious. However, the presence of their articulation reinforces the youth of the restoration ecology "school of thought", and the need to codify even basic tenets. Propositions that I particularly appreciated included the highlighting of the non-linear and non-equilibrium dynamics of ecosystem patterns and the difficulty of projecting outcomes because this (e.g. biotic reactions, dispersal issues, colonization dynamics, rapid evolutionary change); that we should accept that conservation and restoration efforts to date are a reflection of our cultural and economic values, and going forward we need to acknowledge, articulate and, if appropriate, reevalaute these drivers; and the psychology of "protected values" and how that relates to the current funding structure for restoration and conservation projects.

A lasting thought after reading this article is a quote from a conservation manager who, being pragmatic in light of all the rapid changes in the environments that need to be restored/conserved, quoted Kenny Rogers with "know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em". Ah. Truly an eclectic mix of inputs are discussed in this paper.

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