Adaptation to Climate Change Legal Challenges for Protected Areas

18 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2009  

An Cliquet

Department of Public International Law, Ghent University (Belgium)

Chris Backes

University of Maastricht - Public Law

Jim Harris

Cranfield University

Peter Howsam

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Climate change will cause further loss of biodiversity. As negative effects are already taking place, adaptive measures are required to protect biodiversity from the effects of climate change. The EU policy on climate change and biodiversity aims at improving a coherent ecological network in order to have more resilient ecosystems and to provide for connectivity outside core areas. The existing legal framework, the Birds and Habitats Directives, can enable adaptive approaches, by establishing and managing the Natura 2000 network and providing for connectivity measures. However, policy and law so far have mainly been aimed at conserving the status quo of habitats and species within core areas. The question is whether a legal requirement to protect certain species in certain places makes sense when species and even ecosystems are migrating due to climate change. Instead, efforts must be increased to protect ecosystem functions, goods and services from the negative effects of climate change, and to facilitate the ecological restoration of new areas. Even more effort is needed for the implementation of connectivity. If existing legislation proves too weak to face these challenges, a new ‘Ecosystem Framework Directive’ might provide the necessary legal impetus.

Keywords: nature conservation, adaptation, climate change, Birds Directive, Habitats Directive, Ecosystem Framework Directive

Suggested Citation

Cliquet, An and Backes, Chris and Harris, Jim and Howsam, Peter, Adaptation to Climate Change Legal Challenges for Protected Areas. Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 158-175, June 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1440152

An Cliquet (Contact Author)

Department of Public International Law, Ghent University (Belgium) ( email )

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000
Belgium

Chris Backes

University of Maastricht - Public Law ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands
0031433883136 (Phone)
0031433884907 (Fax)

Jim Harris

Cranfield University ( email )

Cranfield
Bedfordshire MK43 OAL, MK43 0AL
United Kingdom

Peter Howsam

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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