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Future oriented conservation: knowledge governance, uncertainty and learning




Wyborn, Carina
van Kerkhoff, Lorrae
Dunlop, Michael
Dudley, Nigel
Guevara, Oscar

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Kluwer Academic Publishers


Despite significant progress in understanding climate risks, adaptation efforts in biodiversity conservation remain limited. Adaptation requires addressing immediate conservation threats while also attending to long term, highly uncertain and potentially transformative future changes. To date, conservation research has focused more on projecting climate impacts and identifying possible strategies, rather than understanding how governance enables or constrains adaptation actions. We outline an approach to future-oriented conservation that combines the capacities to anticipate future ecological change; to understand the implications of that change for social, political and ecological values; and the ability to engage with the governance (and politics) of adaptation. Our approach builds on the adaptive management and governance literature, however we explicitly address the (often contested) rules, knowledge and values that enable or constrain adaptation. We call for a broader focus that extends beyond technical approaches to acknowledge the socio-political challenges inherent to adaptation. More importantly, we suggest that conservation policy makers and practitioners can use this approach to facilitate learning and adaptation in the context of complexity, transformational change and uncertainty.



Climate adaptation, Conservation, Futures, Uncertainty, Governance Learning



Biodiversity and Conservation


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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License



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