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TitleBiodiversity and protected areas
AuthorNantel, P; Pellatt, M G; Kennleyside, K; Gray, P A
SourceCanada in a changing climate: sector perspectives on impacts and adaptation; by Warren, F J (ed.); Lemmen, D S (ed.); 2014 p. 159-190 Open Access logo Open Access
LinksOnline - En ligne (PDF, 21 MB)
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Mediaon-line; digital; paper
RelatedThis publication is contained in Canada in a changing climate: sector perspectives on impacts and adaptation
RelatedThis publication is a translation of Biodiversité et aires protégées
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia; Alberta; Saskatchewan; Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador; Northwest Territories; Yukon; Nunavut; Canada
NTS1; 2; 3; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 62; 63; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 72; 73; 74; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 82; 83; 84; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 92; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 102; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 114O; 114P; 115; 116; 117; 120; 340; 560
Lat/Long WENS-141.0000 -50.0000 90.0000 41.7500
Subjectsenvironmental geology; Health and Safety; Nature and Environment; adaptation; climate effects; climatic fluctuations; climate; faunas; modelling; ecosystems; ecology; Climate change; Human health
Illustrationslocation maps; tables
ProgramClimate Change Impacts and Adaptation
ProgramClimate Change Impacts and Adaptation Canada in a Changing Climate
Released2014 01 01
Biodiversity - the variety of species and ecosystems and the ecological processes of which they are a part - has a paramount influence on Canada's natural capital and its ability to deliver services. Those services, in turn, contribute to human health and well-being and support a wide range of economic sectors. Climate change, interacting with other human stressors such as pollution and landscape fragmentation, is already impacting biodiversity in Canada. Future impacts will be affected by the magnitude of continuing climate change and adaptation decisions made to enhance ecosystem resilience. Key findings of this chapter include:
Climate-related shifts in species distributions have already been documented in Canada. Future range shifts will include expansion, contraction and fragmentation in species-specific patterns. In many locations, differential range shifts among species are likely to result in novel ecosystems.
Phenological mismatches occur when shifts in the timing of life cycle events differ between dependent species and, as an example, can result in migrating species arriving at a site after the peak prey availability has passed. Phenological mismatches are expected to become more frequent in the future, as is hybridization. The impacts of hybridization can drive rare species to extinction or, in other cases, increase the adaptability of some species by introducing genetic variation.
For many species, the current and projected rates of environmental change are likely to exceed their natural ability to adapt, increasing stress and threatening biodiversity. As a result, climate change is magnifying the importance of managing ecosystems in a manner that enhances resilience and preserves biodiversity.
Protected areas, including parks, wildlife reserves and marine protected areas will play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity in a period of rapid change. Many protected areas will provide "refuge" or migration corridors for native species, serving to maintain genetic diversity. Protected areas tend to be more resilient than the intervening landscapes and waterscapes because they contain relatively intact ecosystems and are less impacted by non-climate stressors such as habitat loss and fragmentation.
Many Canadian jurisdictions are expanding their system of parks and other protected areas as part of their overall management plans and climate change adaptation strategies. Initiatives aimed at maintaining or restoring landscape connectivity serve to increase ecosystem resilience by enhancing the capacity for species to adjust their distribution in response to climate change. Associated research, monitoring, citizen science, public awareness, and visitor experience programs build understanding and help to engage the public in meaningful participatory decision-making.
The conservation community recognizes the value of ecological restoration in strengthening the resilience of ecosystems to climate change. Integration of climate change adaptation strategies into restoration decision-making in Canada, as elsewhere, is complex.

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