Climate-smart conservation

Marine turtle nesting beach, Junquillal, Costa Rica, a site of a community-based, conservation ... / ©: Carlos Drews / WWF-Canon

Climate-smart conservation

Changing how we do conservation

In an era of rapid climatic change, a different kind of conservation is needed.
Climate-smart conservation is a new way of thinking about protecting our environment, one that plans for how a changing climate affects conservation efforts.

Climate-smart conservation is about developing and implementing solutions that are effective under a range of potential futures.

Planning for the uncertain

 / ©: WWF-Canon / Simon Rawles
Part of WWF's work is mainstreaming climate change into conservation planning.

What is climate-smart conservation?

Climate-smart conservation considers how climate and non-climate related pressures affect species, ecosystems and people.
Conservation has long looked to the past as a guide to create a better future. We have traditionally focused on restoring damaged places to previous conditions, and preserving undamaged places, to ensure they persist for decades to come.

Managing change to minimise loss

However, even the most pristine and well-protected places are now under threat. Climate-smart conservation is about addressing those threats - both existing and future - and building the resilience of social and ecological systems.




Key elements of climate smart conservation

► Understanding the implications of climate change, including how human responses might lead to changes in other conventional threats

► Developing and implementing no-regret actions that address current threats, do not erode options for responding to future climate change, and avoid contributing to greenhouse gas emissions

► Taking an integrated approach to adaptation, contributing to nature conservation and fair, equitable and sustainable development

► Active learning to build capacity and work collaboratively to plan and respond to increasing change and uncertainty.

► Bringing about changes in policy that create an enabling environment across scales (local to international) for adaptive governance.


People and conservation

Climate-smart conservation recognizes the critical role that nature plays in supporting people's ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change. It also acknowledges that improving well-being and reducing the vulnerability of people is crucial to achieving conservation objectives. Read more about how WWF works to link conservation, development and people's well-being.
 / ©: Cat Holloway / WWF-Canon
Corals become "bleached" when water temperatures rise too high and are sustained for too long. Fiji.
© Cat Holloway / WWF-Canon

Green Recovery & Reconstruction: Training Toolkit for Humanitarian Aid

 / ©: green-recovery.org
The GRRT, developed collaboratively with the American Red Cross and 30 experts from 18 agencies, helps make communities more resilient by making environmental issues an integral part of the recovery process.
Learn more about it on our Disaster Risk Reduction page.
 / ©: Murat Selat/ WWF-Nepal
The Eastern Himalayas
© Murat Selat/ WWF-Nepal

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