Climate Change

Why address Climate Change?

In the first version of Florida's Action Plan, climate change was briefly touched upon in the 'climate variability' chapter.  Much has changed since the original action plan was published. The science behind climate change has become more evident and the emphasis on adaptation planning has grown tremendously.  Not only is the current climate change science more robust, but many conservation partners are focusing on this issue. To stay abreast of current conservation priorities, it is imperative to focus more on this issue. 

How will the Action Plan address climate change impacts on fish and wildlife?

The FWC is currently working with partners and key experts to develop a climate change chapter that will focus on three key issues: 1) a synthesis of the current state of climate science and its potential impact on wildlife in Florida, with an emphasis on sea level rise; 2) a vulnerability assessment focusing on the impact of sea level rise to be developed in conjunction with Defenders of Wildlife, the Massachusetts Institute of Technologyand key experts; and 3) adaptation recommendations that will be developed with the assistance of land managers and species experts. The 2015 Action Plan revision will include other major climate change impacts.

What is a vulnerability assessment in relation to climate change?

As defined in the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Climate Change Guidance document, a vulnerability assessment "provides the scientific basis for developing climate adaptation strategies and uses information about future climate scenarios with ecological information about climate sensitivity and adaptive capacity to help managers anticipate how a species or system is likely to respond under the projected climate change conditions."  Vulnerability assessments have become very popular as a first step in planning for climate change. The assessments can take different forms, but the ultimate goal is to identify the vulnerabilities to climate change for species and habitats.

Why the focus on sea level rise in the climate change chapter?

Florida is dominated by its coastlines and by its low lying geography. Based on the most recent predictions for sea level rise, Florida could be severely impacted by mid-century.  Also, sea level rise is the focus of many research efforts, so it can be more easily modeled than temperature and precipitation change, or other potential climate change impacts. The 2015 Action Plan revision will include other major climate change impacts.


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