Perhaps the most interesting thing from the reading is the issue of resilience and the adaptation capacity of various sites in relation to climate change, but at the same time maintaining diversity. In this case, the authors also point out that the species on these sites after a hundred years or so will be the same as those currently living on the site, with each site supporting species which can survive and thrive in the physical setting’s conditions. As such, resilient sites or ecosystems are those which can absorb disturbance caused by climate change without losing function or shifting to another state. One aspect that was especially interesting in this concept of resilience was that the site or ecosystem must first be resistant to disturbances that create structural changes, as well as able to recover or return to its original structure in the face of these pressured by climate change.
One major question raised by the reading is about the prioritization of strategic conservation of land, which is important in conserving biological diversity even in the face of climate change. Indeed, as biodiversity continuously faces significant threats from climate change, the reading does not specifically identify priority methods of strategic land conservation. An approach mentioned in the reading, albeit in passing, is that on top of protecting individual species in the ecosystem one at a time, an effective strategy should also strive to protect ultimate biodiversity drivers. Thus, one question that arises from the reading is how species diversity is predicted by physical settings or geology, as well as the specific geological factors that predict diversity of species with higher certainty in order to drive strategic conservation of land. Further, it is also important to know the extent to which the protection of identified geophysical settings may help in conserving biodiversity at present and in the future. Such knowledge would be crucial given that the authors note resilience does not specifically mean preservation of the current species.
The main thing that stands out and is likeable about these questions is that answering them will provide a workable strategy, which will help in successful conservation efforts as the threat of climate change looms larger. While current understanding points to attempts aimed at predicting the migration and eventual settlement of species in the next century or so, the current thinking proposed by the authors provides a strategy for the protection of entire ecosystems. Indeed, if the current predictive system is off about the response of species to the effects of climate change, scientists may end up protecting the wrong sites. Thus, the current approach, which raises the aforementioned questions, will allow for more focus on geological factors. Since species have significant relationships with their landscapes, the focus identified by the authors will allow for linkages between geology and diversity in protective strategies.
One element from the study that should be addressed by further study is whether ecosystems such as coral reefs can be managed in order to improve their resistance to climate change. In this case, it is crucial to understand, which between recovery and resistance is the best aspect of resilience to target in creating strategies for the protection and preservation of ecosystems as climate change becomes more prevalent. It is highly possible that ecosystem degradation will cause significant alterations in the interaction and composition of species, which may be irreversible and could impair the function and resilience of ecosystems. Therefore, there is evidence that building resistance into the ecosystems alone may not be an adequate strategy in preserving ecosystems due to climate change. As such, there is need for further study to identify strategies that will build resilience in ecosystems by identifying local stress levels that maximize resistance while also helping in ecosystem recovery.
- Anderson, Mark G., Melissa Clark, and A. Olivero Sheldon. “Resilient sites for terrestrial conservation in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.” The Nature Conservancy, Eastern Conservation Science, (2012).