Policy Guidance Brief: Adapting ecosystems to climate change

Author: NCCARF
Year: 2013

Ecosystems are complex and highly interconnected. While they have a natural capacity to adapt to change, the ever-increasing rate of climate change means that ecosystems are expected to be fundamentally altered. This factsheet first describes the current and future effects, impacts and issues of climate change on terrestrial, coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems; and then focuses on adaptation policy settings and management actions to help build ecosystem resilience and achieve better ecosystem outcomes. The key needs to support the future of well adapted ecosystems are featured: (i) coordinated approaches across all levels of government, (ii) addressing conservation needs, (iii) minimisation of existing stressors to maximise adaptive capacity of ecosystems, (iv) long-term monitoring to identify rapid changes, and (v) community engagement and effective communication. While the role of market mechanisms and incentives in ecosystem management is acknowledged, using them wisely is strictly required.

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