Conservation Futures

Helping people and ecosystems adapt to environmental change

Conservation Futures

Protected areas such as national parks are key to helping communities and nature adapt to a changing climate. They build resilience to climate change globally, buffer the impacts of extreme climate events, underpin important ecosystem services such as food and water provision and protect biodiversity.

Maintaining healthy protected areas under climate change requires knowledge that is relevant, accessible and easily integrated into policy, planning and management. The Luc Hoffmann Institute Conservation Futures project will develop methodologies to enable the adaptive management of protected area so they can continue to support biodiversity conservation, local communities and economies into the future.

Conservation Futures works with Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia (Colombia National Parks) to develop interdisciplinary methods that connect projections of climate impacts with social science insights into policy and management challenges. This ‘futures thinking’ helps protected area planners and managers take decisions in the context of change and uncertainty.

Working in two pilot sites (the Amazon piedmont and the coffee growing region) the project aims to ensure that adaptation and the future expansion of the protected area network draws on the best available knowledge to maintain ecosystem services in the face of climate change.

The project has helped revise the criteria for the IUCN Green List Standard for Protected Areas, specifically by including adaptive governance criteria and indicators, and mainstreaming climate considerations into the standard.

Conservation Futures supports Parques Nacionales Colombia to fulfil its commitments under the REDPARQUES declaration in which 18 Latin American countries recognise the role of protected areas in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The project has also been integrated into a Global Environment Facility-funded 2.5-million-hectare expansion of the Colombian protected area network. This involves addressing the adaptation implementation gap faced globally where information about climate impacts has been insufficient to support action.

Main image: Colombia © Pablo Corral / WWF

Project partners

Australian National University, CSIRO, WWF-Colombia, Parques Nacionales Colombia.

Project leaders

Carina WybornClaudia Munera and Carolina Figueroa (Luc Hoffmann Institute); Lorrae van Kerkhoff (ANU); Michael Dunlop (CSIRO); Oscar Guevara (WWF-Colombia). Developed with support from Nigel Dudley (Equilibrium Consulting).

Related reading

Alejandro GuizarConservation Futures