Climate change adaptation planning for an internationally important wetland, the Muir-Byenup System Ramsar Site in south-west Australia

G. Partridge, C. M. Finlayson

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    Abstract

    Wetlands, already declining worldwide because of human activities, are at increasing risk from climate change. Despite the Ramsar Convention requirement to maintain the ecological character of wetlands listed as internationally important, there is little guidance for wetland managers to actually do this, let alone plan for and implement adaptation to climate change. This study developed a checklist for planning climate change adaptation and used it to consider adaptation options for the Muir-Byenup System Ramsar site in Australia. Under climate change the site will be subject to future warming and drying, affecting hydrology, bird breeding and feeding, vegetation, peat and threatened species. Fire and wetland acidification are likely to increase. The study found that planning for climate change adaptation had not been widely undertaken for Ramsar sites and, where it had, managers mainly planned information gathering activities and 'no regrets' actions rather than innovative or transformative approaches. New management approaches and policy settings that encompass the dynamic nature of wetlands are needed because maintaining wetlands in their current state will be difficult under climate change. The development and sharing of targeted information and training for wetland managers and stakeholders could facilitate a better understanding and uptake of adaptation at wetlands.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
    DOIs
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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