Freshwater ecosystem security and climate change

Jamie Pittock, Max Finlayson, Simon Linke

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter in textbook/reference bookpeer-review


In this chapter we review techniques that managers may use to respond to climate change. First, modelling the impacts of climate change on freshwater ecosystems is discussed. While hydro-climatic projections can be used their imprecision requires the selection of robust adaptation options that provide benefits under a range of possible climate outcomes. Second, contested concepts for managing freshwater ecosystems and resources are summarised, and we conclude that they may be used to develop and implement cross-sectoral policies that sustain freshwater ecosystems. Third, options for climate change adaptation for freshwater ecosystems recommends application of six principles, emphasising: accommodation of change; application of ecological and socio-economic targets across multiple scales; maintaining connectivity, conservation of refugia, and representative habitats; initial implementation of no- and low-regret adaptation interventions; agreeing on thresholds for ecological change that trigger new management interventions; and scientific monitoring and evaluation. We conclude by considering how to manage the negative impacts and seize positive synergies in climate change responses: conservation advocates must engage with agriculture, energy, and water resources sectors if freshwater ecosystems are to be incorporated in their decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFreshwater ecology and conservation
Subtitle of host publicationApproaches and techniques
EditorsJocelyne M.R. Hughes
Place of PublicationOxford, United Kingdom
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780198766384, 9780198766421
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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