BackgroundIn 2007, WWF initiated the Adaptation to Climate Change for Marine Turtles (ACT) project in response to increasing concern surrounding the potential impacts that climate change could have on marine turtles and the coastal habitats they depend on. ACT is a regional initiative (Wider Caribbean and Latin America), funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, focused on building capacity to address the threats from climate change to coastal ecosystems used by marine turtles.
In its first phase (Developing an Approach to Adaptation to Climate Change in the Insular Caribbean – the Hawksbill Turtle as an Indicator Species 2007 - 2009), activities focused on:
- How will climate change affect sea turtles and their habitats?
- What are the projected changes in temperature, precipitation and sea level for the wider Caribbean region?
- What can we do now, given our current level of knowledge, to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on hawksbill sea turtles and their habitats?
The main output from the first two years of ACT was the production of an Adaptation to Climate Change Toolkit, which includes a series of reports and manuals designed to facilitate the incorporation of climate change into ongoing conservation, research and management programs.
The project is now in its second phase (Capacity Building in the Wider Caribbean to Combat Climate Change Threats to Coastal Biodiversity and Marine Turtle Habitat 2010 - 2013) and focuses on supporting the incorporation of climate adaptation action into local conservation and management plans and /or national policy. A growing number of adaptation practitioners, throughout the Wider Caribbean and globally, are monitoring the impacts of climate change, carrying out vulnerability assessments and testing adaptation strategies.
Project aim and objectives
The overall goal of this project is to build capacity in the Wider Caribbean to reduce threats from climate change to coastal biodiversity and communities, focusing on adaptation efforts in coastal habitats of value to endangered marine turtles.
Objective 1. Support. A network of coastal adaptation practitioners, working in tropical areas of high biodiversity value in the Wider Caribbean, is established and acts as a thematic hub for coastal and marine adaptation by facilitating communication and support.
Objective 2. Tools and resources. The Adaption Toolkit for marine turtle habitats is expanded, refined, and made available in at least 20 nations of the Wider Caribbean.
Objective 3. Training. Trained personnel (or “multipliers”) at local, national and regional levels promote implementation of climate adaptation, and the capacity of government officials and other decision-makers to address climate change impacts is strengthened through improved understanding of the value of including climate change adaptation in integrated coastal management policy.
This short video shows some of the impacts of climate change on marine turtles and possible management solutions.