Opportunities to Improve Urban and Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change Through Conservation of Green Space.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 12:00 PM
Nicole E Heller, Dwight Center for Conservation Science, Pepperwood Preserve, Santa Rosa, CA, United States
The conservation of biotic communities in urbanized ecosystems is critical in light of heightened vulnerability due to climate change. Conservation of large open spaces around cities and smaller ‘green’ spaces within cities - such as forest patches and wetlands - has the capacity to diminish the vulnerability of human communities to higher temperatures, water shortages, increased flooding and other impacts of climate change. In addition, native species need to migrate to track their climate niches and the chances of successful migration will be increased if species have access to habitat throughout the landscape. Thus there is a strong rationale to do more conservation and restoration for both ecosystem and urban adaptation to climate change. Despite this alignment, planning efforts in the urban and ecosystem sectors are rarely done synergistically. As a result it is not clear how well plans will achieve biodiversity along with other ecosystem services goals. In this talk, I will discuss how urban adaptation planning can better align with ecosystem adaptation planning by drawing on research exploring sustainability plans and urban ecology in US cities, including work conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area by the Terrestrial Biodiversity and Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3). This research shows that there are considerable opportunities for linking agendas across sectors in ways that could yield multiple benefits. There are however both social and ecological challenges. In some cases difficult choices will need to be made about which values and services are most important, or where in the landscape different values should be prioritized.