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Capacity of Management Plans for Aquatic Invasive Species to Integrate Climate Change

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The consequences of climate change will affect aquatic ecosystems, including aquatic invasive species (AIS) that are already affecting these ecosystems. Effects on AIS include range shifts and more frequent overwintering of species. These effects may create new challenges for AIS management. We examined available U.S. state AIS management plans to assess each program's capacity to adapt to climate-change effects. We scored the adaptive capacity of AIS management plans on the basis of whether they addressed potential impacts resulting from climate change; demonstrated a capacity to adapt to changing conditions; provided for monitoring strategies; provided for plan revisions; and described funding for implementation. Most plans did not mention climate change specifically, but some did acknowledge climatic boundaries of species and ecosystem sensitivities to changing conditions. Just under half the plans mentioned changing environmental conditions as a factor, most frequently as part of research activities. Activities associated with monitoring showed the highest capacity to include information on changing conditions, and future revisions to management plans are likely to be the easiest avenue through which to address climate-change effects on AIS management activities. Our results show that programs have the capacity to incorporate information about climate-change effects and that the adaptive-management framework may be an appropriate approach.
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Keywords: adaptive capacity; adaptive management; aquatic invasive species management plans; cambio climático; capacidad adaptativa; climate change; especies acuáticas invasoras; manejo adaptativo; planes de manejo

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Global Change Research Program, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (MC 8601P), Washington, D.C. 20460, U.S.A., Email: [email protected] 2: Environmental Law Institute, 2000 L Street, NW, Suite 620, Washington, D.C. 20036, U.S.A.

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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