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Managing ecosystems in a changing climate
Date:1/26/2010

from long-term or widespread use. For example, injecting sulfur particles into the atmosphere to reflect solar rays would have a cooling effect but could also increase acid rain and destabilize weather patterns.

Address long-term risks. Assess the far-reaching consequences of ecosystem alterations. Monitor carbon stores sequestered under given management practices and develop or apply models to forecast ecosystem responses several decades into the future.

In addition to mitigating climate change, steps should be taken to prepare ecosystems to withstand climate change impacts. Human activity has impaired the natural resilience of many ecosystems. ESA outlines four adaptation strategies to safeguard ecosystem services in the face of climate change:

Take additional steps to protect water quality and quantity. Freshwater resources are at particular risk from the interaction of climate change and intensification of human use. Rising temperatures have already lowered river flows, warmed surface waters and dried out wetlands. Sustaining freshwater resources is critical to both environmental and public health.

Enable natural species migration across human dominated landscapes. Create and maintain wildlife corridors across jurisdictions and private lands to help species relocate and adapt as habitats shift with climate change. Steps should be taken to restore the ability of native species to migrate across landscapes severely fragmented by human land use.

Improve capacity to predict extreme events. Monitoring and modeling natural disturbance and recovery processes at regional scales will help state and federal agencies understand and respond to novel rates and intensities of environmental change.

Manage collaboratively at the ecosystem level. Many natural resources and services, such as fresh water, clean air and crop pollination, are not contained within jurisdictional boundaries; resource management should reflect this
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Contact: Katie Kline
katie@esa.org
202-833-8775
Ecological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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