While mitigation has been the dominant policy response to climate change in the global community, practitioners and scholars have argued that significant climate change will occur even in the event of dramatic emissions reductions in the near term, thus adaptation is vital to address these impacts and to maintain or restore ecosystem resilience to multiple stresses. Increasingly the need to mainstream this adaptation into development planning, sectoral decision-making and policy making is being recognised. This paper explores the challenges faced in trying to mainstream climate change adaptation policy in the context of other priorities, specifically biodiversity conservation. By investigating the case study of recent efforts by Defra and the England Biodiversity Group to embed climate change adaptation principles into their biodiversity conservation work and the insights gained into the barriers faced, we propose specific strategies that may be employed to overcome these barriers and speculate about the transferability of the lessons into other policy contexts. Key barriers include uncertainty about the future of funding and climate change as a policy priority, organisational silos leading to insufficient communication of the relevance of adaptation to conservation, and legacy of policies that deliver sub-optimal outcomes in the event of a changing climate. Ecosystem-based climate change adaptation and mitigation may serve to overcome some of these barriers by delivering on multiple priorities simultaneously, and embedding adaptation in job descriptions/standard operating procedures may help to build new modes of practice.

Author names: 
Burch, Sarah
Berry, Pam
Sanders, Michele

Burch, Sarah; Berry, Pam; Sanders, Michele (2013): Embedding climate change adaptation in biodiversity conservation: A case study of England. Environmental science & policy 37 (2014 ) 79 – 90.

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