The fast and human forced climate change is a serious threat for the long term conservation of biological diversity. While strategies around climate change and its mitigation are key to over coming the challenge, there is also a need to assess the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and human activity today, to address these through the development of adaptation strategies at an appropriate scale, in all landscapes where WCS works.
As an organization, WCS plays multiple roles in the terrestrial and marine landscapes where works and these vary according to local conditions, capacities, politics and available funds. As a consequence, climate change adaptation will probably take diverse meanings and approaches through the landscapes where WCS works. In all cases climate change adaptation will anticipate the impact on the landscape and then use this information for proactive decision making that improves WCS position to achieve its long term objectives.
While climate change poses new challenges for conservation, WCS is well positioned to undertake a strong adaptive response for at least two reasons. In first place we are an organization based on science and already have an important experience, in addition we have on going scientific activities in the landscapes where we work-this activity and knowledge are an excellent bases for planning future impacts of climate change. Secondly we work and plan at a terrestrial/marine landscape level which is necessary to face climate change.
Implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation is not only a huge challenge for WCS, it offers very important opportunities. For example; governments, donor organizations and responsible politicians see natural solutions for climate adaptation as an inexpensive and effective way to over come local communities threats with actions that contribute with conservation results. These natural solutions includes activities such as hydrographic water sheds protection in regions which are expected to become drier or the improvement of natural barriers (like mangrove swamps) to mitigate impacts of sea level rising. Practical and well designed strategies for climate change adaptation can open new opportunities for financial sources, as well as allowing WCS having funds for its conservation activities, if traditional founding sources transfer some funds to climate change. In addition, many of actual activities carried out by WCS area good climate change adaptation strategies and can be eligible to be funded.