Preparing Wildlife for Climate Change: How Far Have We Come?
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Global biodiversity is in unprecedented decline and on-the-ground solutions are imperative for conservation. Although there is a large volume of evidence related to climate change effects on wildlife, research on climate adaptation strategies is lagging. To assess the current state of knowledge in climate adaptation, we conducted a comprehensive literature review and evaluated 1,346 peer-reviewed publications for management recommendations designed to address the consequences of climate change on wildlife populations. From 509 publications, we identified 2,306 recommendations and employed both qualitative and quantitative methods for data analysis. Although we found an increase in the volume and diversity of recommendations since 2007, a focus on protected areas (26%, 596 of 2,306 recommendations) and the non-reserve matrix (12%, 276 of 2,306 recommendations) remained prominent in the climate adaptation literature. Common concepts include protected areas, invasive species, ecosystem services, adaptive management, stepping stones, assisted migration, and conservation easements. In contrast, only 1% of recommendations focused on reproduction (n = 26), survival (n = 14), disease (n = 26), or human-wildlife conflict (n = 24). Few recommendations reflected the potential for local-scale management interventions. We demonstrate limited advancement in preparing natural resource managers in climate adaptation at local, management-relevant scales. Additional research is needed to identify and evaluate climate adaptation strategies aimed at reducing the vulnerability of wildlife to contemporary climate change. © 2020 The Wildlife Society.