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Natural Solutions

Natural Solutions - Protected areas helping people cope with climate change

Natural Solutions - Protected areas helping people cope with climate change

HerausgeberWWF Deutschland
Responses to climate change must now focus on reducing greenhouse gas
emissions enough to avoid runaway impacts (“avoiding the unmanageable”) and
on addressing the impacts that are already with us (“managing the unavoidable”).
Managing natural ecosystems as carbon sinks and resources for adaptation is
increasingly recognised as a necessary, efficient and relatively cost-effective
strategy. The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change recommended
that governments develop policies for “climate sensitive public goods including
natural resource protection, coastal protection and emergency preparedness”.
The world’s protected area network already helps mitigate and adapt to
climate change. Protected areas store 15 per cent of terrestrial carbon
and supply ecosystem services for disaster reduction, water supply, food
and public health, all of which enable community-based adaptation. Many
natural and managed ecosystems can help reduce climate change impacts.
But protected areas have advantages over other approaches to natural
ecosystem management in terms of legal and governance clarity, capacity
and effectiveness. In many cases protection is the only way of keeping carbon
locked in and ecosystem services running smoothly.
Without the investment made in protected areas systems worldwide, the
situation would be even worse. Increasing investment through a partnership
of governments, communities, indigenous peoples, non-governmental
organisations and the private sector would ensure greater protection of these
essential services. Evidence suggests that protected areas work: even since
this report was completed, a new World Bank review shows how tropical
protected areas, especially those conserved by indigenous peoples, lose
less forest than other management systems*.
But these co-benefits for climate, biodiversity and society are often missed
or ignored. This book clearly articulates for the first time how protected areas
contribute significantly to reducing impacts of climate change and what is
needed for them to achieve even more. As we enter an unprecedented scale
of negotiations about climate and biodiversity it is important that these
messages reach policy makers loud and clear and are translated into
effective policies and funding mechanisms.