Riparian Ecosystems in the 21st Century: Hotspots for Climate Change Adaptation?

Samantha Capon, Lynda E. Chambers, Ralph MAC NALLY, Robert J. Naiman, Peter Davies, Nadine Marshall, Jamie Pittock, Michael Reid, Timothy Capon, Michael Douglas, Jane Catford, Darren Baldwin, Michael Stewardson, Jane Roberts, Meg Parsons, Stephen Williams

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133 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Riparian ecosystems in the 21st century are likely to play a critical role in determining the vulnerability of natural and human systems to climate change, and in influencing the capacity of these systems to adapt. Some authors have suggested that riparian ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts due to their high levels of exposure and sensitivity to climatic stimuli, and their history of degradation. Others have highlighted the probable resilience of riparian ecosystems to climate change as a result of their evolution under high levels of climatic and environmental variability. We synthesize current knowledge of the vulnerability of riparian ecosystems to climate change by assessing the potential exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of their key components and processes, as well as ecosystem functions, goods and services, to projected global climatic changes. We review key pathways for ecological and human adaptation for the maintenance, restoration and enhancement of riparian ecosystem functions, goods and services and present emerging principles for planned adaptation. Our synthesis suggests that, in the absence of adaptation, riparian ecosystems are likely to be highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. However, given the critical role of riparian ecosystem functions in landscapes, as well as the strong links between riparian ecosystems and human well-being, considerable means, motives and opportunities for strategically planned adaptation to climate change also exist. The need for planned adaptation of and for riparian ecosystems is likely to be strengthened as the importance of many riparian ecosystem functions, goods and services will grow under a changing climate. Consequently, riparian ecosystems are likely to become adaptation ‘hotspots’ as the century unfolds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-381
Number of pages23
JournalEcosystems
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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twenty first century
Climate change
Ecosystems
climate change
ecosystems
ecosystem
ecosystem function
vulnerability
climate change adaptation
Restoration
climate
history
goods and services

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Capon, S., Chambers, L. E., MAC NALLY, R., Naiman, R. J., Davies, P., Marshall, N., ... Williams, S. (2013). Riparian Ecosystems in the 21st Century: Hotspots for Climate Change Adaptation? Ecosystems, 16, 359-381. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-013-9656-1
Capon, Samantha ; Chambers, Lynda E. ; MAC NALLY, Ralph ; Naiman, Robert J. ; Davies, Peter ; Marshall, Nadine ; Pittock, Jamie ; Reid, Michael ; Capon, Timothy ; Douglas, Michael ; Catford, Jane ; Baldwin, Darren ; Stewardson, Michael ; Roberts, Jane ; Parsons, Meg ; Williams, Stephen. / Riparian Ecosystems in the 21st Century: Hotspots for Climate Change Adaptation?. In: Ecosystems. 2013 ; Vol. 16. pp. 359-381.
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Capon, S, Chambers, LE, MAC NALLY, R, Naiman, RJ, Davies, P, Marshall, N, Pittock, J, Reid, M, Capon, T, Douglas, M, Catford, J, Baldwin, D, Stewardson, M, Roberts, J, Parsons, M & Williams, S 2013, 'Riparian Ecosystems in the 21st Century: Hotspots for Climate Change Adaptation?', Ecosystems, vol. 16, pp. 359-381. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-013-9656-1

Riparian Ecosystems in the 21st Century: Hotspots for Climate Change Adaptation? / Capon, Samantha; Chambers, Lynda E.; MAC NALLY, Ralph; Naiman, Robert J.; Davies, Peter; Marshall, Nadine; Pittock, Jamie; Reid, Michael; Capon, Timothy; Douglas, Michael; Catford, Jane; Baldwin, Darren; Stewardson, Michael; Roberts, Jane; Parsons, Meg; Williams, Stephen.

In: Ecosystems, Vol. 16, 2013, p. 359-381.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Riparian Ecosystems in the 21st Century: Hotspots for Climate Change Adaptation?

AU - Capon, Samantha

AU - Chambers, Lynda E.

AU - MAC NALLY, Ralph

AU - Naiman, Robert J.

AU - Davies, Peter

AU - Marshall, Nadine

AU - Pittock, Jamie

AU - Reid, Michael

AU - Capon, Timothy

AU - Douglas, Michael

AU - Catford, Jane

AU - Baldwin, Darren

AU - Stewardson, Michael

AU - Roberts, Jane

AU - Parsons, Meg

AU - Williams, Stephen

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Riparian ecosystems in the 21st century are likely to play a critical role in determining the vulnerability of natural and human systems to climate change, and in influencing the capacity of these systems to adapt. Some authors have suggested that riparian ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts due to their high levels of exposure and sensitivity to climatic stimuli, and their history of degradation. Others have highlighted the probable resilience of riparian ecosystems to climate change as a result of their evolution under high levels of climatic and environmental variability. We synthesize current knowledge of the vulnerability of riparian ecosystems to climate change by assessing the potential exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of their key components and processes, as well as ecosystem functions, goods and services, to projected global climatic changes. We review key pathways for ecological and human adaptation for the maintenance, restoration and enhancement of riparian ecosystem functions, goods and services and present emerging principles for planned adaptation. Our synthesis suggests that, in the absence of adaptation, riparian ecosystems are likely to be highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. However, given the critical role of riparian ecosystem functions in landscapes, as well as the strong links between riparian ecosystems and human well-being, considerable means, motives and opportunities for strategically planned adaptation to climate change also exist. The need for planned adaptation of and for riparian ecosystems is likely to be strengthened as the importance of many riparian ecosystem functions, goods and services will grow under a changing climate. Consequently, riparian ecosystems are likely to become adaptation ‘hotspots’ as the century unfolds.

AB - Riparian ecosystems in the 21st century are likely to play a critical role in determining the vulnerability of natural and human systems to climate change, and in influencing the capacity of these systems to adapt. Some authors have suggested that riparian ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts due to their high levels of exposure and sensitivity to climatic stimuli, and their history of degradation. Others have highlighted the probable resilience of riparian ecosystems to climate change as a result of their evolution under high levels of climatic and environmental variability. We synthesize current knowledge of the vulnerability of riparian ecosystems to climate change by assessing the potential exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of their key components and processes, as well as ecosystem functions, goods and services, to projected global climatic changes. We review key pathways for ecological and human adaptation for the maintenance, restoration and enhancement of riparian ecosystem functions, goods and services and present emerging principles for planned adaptation. Our synthesis suggests that, in the absence of adaptation, riparian ecosystems are likely to be highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. However, given the critical role of riparian ecosystem functions in landscapes, as well as the strong links between riparian ecosystems and human well-being, considerable means, motives and opportunities for strategically planned adaptation to climate change also exist. The need for planned adaptation of and for riparian ecosystems is likely to be strengthened as the importance of many riparian ecosystem functions, goods and services will grow under a changing climate. Consequently, riparian ecosystems are likely to become adaptation ‘hotspots’ as the century unfolds.

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KW - ecosystem services

KW - environmental management

KW - floodplains

KW - human adaptation

KW - vulnerability

KW - water resources.

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