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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Climate‐change refugia: biodiversity in the slow lane

Authors:

Toni Lyn Morelli

Cameron Barrows

Aaron Ramirez

Jennifer Cartwright

David Ackerly

Tatiana Eaves

Joseph Ebersole

Meg Krawchuk

Benjamin Letcher

Mary Mahalovich

Garrett Meigs

Julia Michalak

Constance Millar

Rebecca Quiñones

Diana Stralberg

James Thorne

+11 more
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
2020
Publisher:
Wiley
Secondary Title:
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
ISSN:
1540-9295, 1540-9309
DOI:
10.1002/fee.2189
Issue:
5
Pages:
228-234
Volume:
18
Year:
2020

Abstract

Climate-change adaptation focuses on conducting and translating research to minimize the dire impacts of anthropogenic climate change, including threats to biodiversity and human welfare. One adaptation strategy is to focus conservation on climate-change refugia (that is, areas relatively buffered from contemporary climate change over time that enable persistence of valued physical, ecological, and sociocultural resources). In this Special Issue, recent methodological and conceptual advances in refugia science will be highlighted. Advances in this emerging subdiscipline are improving scientific understanding and conservation in the face of climate change by considering scale and ecosystem dynamics, and looking beyond climate exposure to sensitivity and adaptive capacity. We propose considering refugia in the context of a multifaceted, long-term, network-based approach, as temporal and spatial gradients of ecological persistence that can act as “slow lanes” rather than areas of stasis. After years of discussion confined primarily to the scientific literature, researchers and resource managers are now working together to put refugia conservation into practice.