Chapter 4: Flexible Conservation in Uncertain Times
Contemporary Issues in Climate Change Law and Policy: Essays Inspired by the IPCC, pp. 65-102, April 2016
41 Pages Posted: 6 May 2016 Last revised: 26 Aug 2016
Date Written: April 5, 2016
This book chapter written in response to an examination of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment explores mechanisms that should find a place in our adaptation/mitigation toolbox. While some climate change efforts fall squarely into either the mitigation or adaptation camp, some — like land conservation — help mitigate the impacts of climate change and also help human and nonhuman communities adapt to climate change. This chapter presents ideas, programs, and property tools that incorporate changing landscapes while still providing environmental benefits. Specifically we explore using the Public Trust Doctrine, payments for ecosystem services, conservation easements, REDD , biodiversity offsets, debt for nature swaps, and community based resource management. Some of the programs are well established and we embrace them; some have been in use but we suggest changes; and some ideas are not fully developed but hopefully will serve as inspiration or conversation starters. Because of the complexity of climate change, along with the political and social landscape, these tools will not all be equally attractive in all areas. Additionally, the tools could be misused and lead to maladaptation or unanticipated, unintended consequences. Therefore, we conclude the chapter with a discussion of concerns related to these tools — an offering that could also serve as a checklist of considerations when forming implementation plans. Thus, we conclude not with a magic pill but with a variety of vitamins that haven’t yet received FDA approval. We think they will be good for you, but as with all such medications taken in the wrong quantities or in ill-advised combinations, they may be harmful to your health. Be sure to consult with your local climate scientists, biologists, policymakers, and neighbors before taking them.
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