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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy

The National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy has been released for public review and comment. The strategy, which largely targets federal, state, and tribal natural resource managers and elected officials, contains a synthesis of the current state-of-knowledge regarding potential climate and non-climatic impacts to U.S. natural resources and ecosystems. This is followed by the identification of a range of strategic priorities for adaptation and actions to be pursued under each, and its gives proper lip-service to the importance of inter-agency coordination. Nevertheless, as we've seen many times before, it's rather clear that the policy framework for the design and implementation of such actions (i.e., the hard part) has yet to be developed. For example, as the strategy itself states,

"[The plan] is not a detailed operational plan, nor does it prescribe specific actions to be taken by specific agencies or organizations, or specific management actions for individual species. In addition, the development of strategies and actions for this document was not constrained by assumptions of current or future available resources."

So beyond it's general educational value to stakeholders, of what utility is strategy that doesn't provide details on implementation, actor responsibilities, or evaluation of the costs and benefits of different actions? At some point one hopes that such adaptation strategies will give way to more robust planning, decision, and investment frameworks to ensure the work that clearly needs to get done to facilitate the adaptation of natural ecosystems and resources actually gets done.

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