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Incorporating sociocultural adaptive capacity in conservation hotspot assessments

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Abstract Aim 

To highlight the importance of combining the geographies of sociocultural adaptation and biodiversity risk for creating global change conservation strategies. Location 

Global. Methods 

We review global conservation adaptation strategies and the geographies that influence biological risk, as well as sociocultural capacity to set priorities for a conservation response. We then describe relationships among these geographies and discuss criteria for prioritizing areas that will have the greatest potential for effective adaptive action. Results 

Strategic conservation requires integrating biological geographies with physical and cultural geographies to maximize potential success with limited resources. Main conclusions 

Biogeography is important for strategic conservation, but it is not the only geography that matters. There is a physical geography of global change providing a complex backdrop against which biodiversity is responsive. Additionally, there is a human geography that drives the degree of threat through variations in anthropogenic disturbance of natural systems and also drives variation in potential mitigation through sociocultural capacity for conservation action. Conservation biogeography typically considers the physical geography of change and the biogeography of threat; it must expand to consider the sociocultural geography of intervention, negative and positive, if it is to be effective. Consideration of these varying geographies also drives different choices for how to implement conservation strategies.

Keywords: Biodiversity; biogeography; climate change; global change; sociocultural adaptation; sociocultural vulnerability

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California 2: Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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