Preparing South African National Parks for climate change

Wendy Foden1,2, Nicola  J. van Wilgen1,3, Mmoto L.  Masubelele1, Kevin  Coldrey4

1Cape Research Centre, South African National Parks, Steenberg, South Africa, 2IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Climate Change Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland, 3Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Matieland, , 4Anchor Consulting, Suite 8, House, Tokai, Silverwood Cl, Steenberg, South Africa


We outline an emerging framework for climate change adaptation planning and explore its use for South African National Parks.  An iterative process guides setting objectives, assessing vulnerabilities (based on predicted exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity), designing adaptation strategies, implementing them and reviewing their effectiveness. To date, SANParks’ vulnerability assessment has focused on three approaches. Firstly, we have quantified climate change already experienced within each national park and documented observed impacts. Secondly, working with the Spatial Planning for Protected Areas Species in Response to Climate Change (SPARC) project, we have explored predictions of species and ecosystem impacts, including through use of species distribution models, dynamic global vegetation models, trait-based assessments and network flow. Thirdly, we have carried out park-specific assessments of climate change vulnerability, focusing on biodiversity, infrastructure and tourism/income generation, as well as on park-specific adaptation capacity. Several key vulnerabilities have emerged including bush encroachment, loss of charismatic species, shifts in malaria incidence, infrastructure damage (from floods, storm surges and fires), revenue loss, and increases in human-wildlife conflict.


Bio to come

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