Scientific article
Open access

Conserving biodiversity in the face of rapid climate change requires a shift in priorities

Publication date2022-09-04
First online date2022-09-04

The field of conservation aims to protect biodiversity—the diversity of life onearth in all its forms. Traditional conservation objectives and measures havealready been expanded and modified in response to shifting social values andclimate-related challenges. As climate change progresses, we argue that thesechanges will need to be accelerated. First, an even greater fraction of conserva-tion objectives will need to prioritize the basic well-being of humans, especiallyin areas where humans are strongly dependent on their natural surroundings.For example, urban biodiversity and low-impact forms of agriculture and for-estry that reconcile biodiversity and contributions to humans should increas-ingly be viewed as compatible with conservation objectives. Second, moreconservation measures will need to allow for, and even foster, changes in bio-diversity. Indeed, changing species' characteristics and biotic community com-position are not only adaptive responses to inevitable climate change but will,in many instances, also be necessary to maintain functioning ecosystems. Con-versely, attempts to maintain biodiversity in a historical state will likelybecome increasingly difficult, expensive, and possibly counterproductive.Finally, in addition to continuing climate adaptation work, conservationefforts will need to focus more on reducing atmospheric carbon concentra-tions. We explore how collectively these changes are transforming the field ofconservation and how they have the potential to lead to a more just and sus-tainable world despite impending climate change.

  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Non-native species
  • Protected areas
  • Values
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
SCHLAEPFER, Martin, LAWLER, Joshua J. Conserving biodiversity in the face of rapid climate change requires a shift in priorities. In: Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Climate change, 2022. doi: 10.1002/wcc.798
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1757-7780

Technical informations

Creation09/05/2022 7:26:00 AM
First validation09/05/2022 7:26:00 AM
Update time03/16/2023 7:28:44 AM
Status update03/16/2023 7:28:43 AM
Last indexation08/31/2023 9:19:43 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack