Maintaining resilience in the face of climate change: Chapter 8

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Climate change, when combined with more conventional stress from human exploitation, calls into question the capacity of both existing ecological communities and resource management institutions to experience disturbances while substantially retaining their same functions and identities (Zellmer and Gunderson 2009; Ruhl 2011). In other words, the physical and biological effects of climate change raise fundamental challenges to the resilience of natural ecosystems (Gunderson and Holling 2002). Perhaps more importantly, the projected scope of ecological shifts from global climate change-and uncertainty about such changes-significantly stresses the capacity of legal institutions to manage ecosystem change (Camacho 2009). Existing governmental institutions lack the adaptive capacity to manage such substantial changes to ecological and legal systems. In particular, regulators and managers lack information about ecological effects and alternative management strategies for managing the effects of climate change (Karkkainen 2008; Camacho 2009), as well as the institutional infrastructure for obtaining such information (Peters 2008).

A number of recent initiatives have been proposed to address the effects of climate change on ecological systems. However, these nascent programs do not fully meet the needs for developing adaptive capacity. A federal, publicly accessible, and system-wide portal and clearinghouse will help regulators at all levels of government manage the effects and uncertainty from climate change (DiMento and Ingram 2005; Farber 2007). Such an information infrastructure, combined with a range of incentives that encourage regulators to engage in adaptive management and programmatic adjustment over time (Baron et al. 2009), will help governmental and private institutions become more resilient and capable of managing the physical and human institutional effects of changing climate (Camacho 2009).

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Maintaining resilience in the face of climate change: Chapter 8
ISBN 9780231536356
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Columbia University Press
Publisher location New York, NY
Contributing office(s) National Climate Adaptation Science Center, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center
Description 30 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Social-ecological resilience and law
First page 235
Last page 264
Other Geospatial Earth