Next Challenges Adaptation Options

A preliminary framework to deal with adaptation options is presented in this paper and summarized in Figure 2. Adaptation options have been further subdivided into: reducing vulnerabilities; enhancing opportunities; and options assessments. Some key questions regarding the challenges of adaptation options are given below:

• What key adaptation messages are sufficiently well founded to establish policies for natural forest ecosystems, woodlots, individual trees, sustainability, resource, resource use, national security, socio-economic development, investment and so on?

• What types of options assessment processes or aids are available to assist selection and prioritization of particular forest technologies or practices from among several options?

• Are there priority needs and additional options that the international community should consider to improve the availability of information and to capitalize on adaptation options?

• What is the current role of the private sector in providing access to technologies and practices that facilitate adaptation? What options exist for improving the flow of technology and knowledge through the private sector?

(Adapted from Wheaton and Maclver, 1999)

Building adaptation work beyond initial steps is urgently needed now. Next steps include careful consideration of the implication of the Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, the Convention on Biological Diversity (cBD) and many other international conventions and agreements. several key adaptation-related articles and operative phrases in the Convention and Protocol have considerable strategic, analytical and information challenges for forest


Figure 4. Sustainable forests framework.

management, including land-use and land-use changes, the Clean Development Mechanisms, carbon sequestration and many others.

Our collective challenge, given the climate change scenarios, population increases, land-use changes and emissions, is a clear definition of our values, projected into the future and figuring out where we go from today. There is a need to reach agreement on a broad and descriptive vision of sustainable forests, woodlots and trees, shared by all. For example, Figure 4 helps illustrate the many interconnecting values that would allow for global and local target setting, where heritage is added as the fourth pillar for sustainable forests. In other words, a pro-active adaptation approach is needed to design future forests to survive and thrive in the future climate. Sounds simple, but the real challenge is taking the first step, tolerant of other competing values and yet managing tomorrow's forests, now. For example, we know that forest migrations cannot keep pace with the expected rate of climate change. Forest ecosystems do not migrate en masse, but species are resourceful in their continuing search for new development opportunities when the hospitality of the local landscape and environment are conducive for seed, pollen and growth processes. Without human intervention, it is expected that many forest reserves will become islands of declining habitat. Interconnecting corridors may help some forest populations, but mass extinction of species is already underway. Humans have created this third great "outrage" and only humanity, not nature, can avoid expected maladaptations.

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