Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde

Protected areas in Germany under Climate Change - Risks and options for policy and management

(Schutzgebiete Deutschlands im Klimawandel - Risiken und Handlungsoptionen)

A Research & Development Project on behalf of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz)/Federal Ministry of Environment (Bundesumweltministerium), Germany

During the next decades protected areas in Germany will encounter essential changes of their natural potential due to climatic changes — irrespective of uncertainties in regional pattern of climatic changes. This problem is going to be another challenge for national nature conservation strategy, including the adherence to international agreements. Target of this project is a comprehensive and representative risk evaluation of German protected areas. This will offer a review about the risks the achievement of protected targets is exposed to. Related to ecological risk assessment it is the aim to derive options for a dynamic nature conservation policy in close cooperation with actors of public and private nature conservation. For a comprehensive and representative list of the protected areas in Germany it is the primary target of this study to investigate to which extent risks in the sense of the conservation purpose may be anticipated caused by the climatic change in the twenty-first century.

Structure and partners of this project:

The University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde works in this project in cooperation with the team leaders

The project is structured in five working packages (WP 1-5) which are linked closely to each other. The first four packages concern the risk evaluation, the fifth deals with the discussion of effective and implementable courses of action for protected area management plans.

WP 2, WP 3 and parts of WP 4 will be elaborated by the cooperation partners:

In WP 2 PIK works on different climatic scenarios, basing on actual climatic models, in order to identify areas of special sensibility and to forecast regional climatic changes.

WP 3,worked out by the PIK, UFZ and the University of Mainz, is concerned with the selection and refinement of climate models, thus laying the basis for

WP 4: This working package is shared by all project partners. It aims at assessing risks for species and biocenoses due to climatic change. PIK, UFZ and University of Mainz are in charge of quantitative analyses of the impacts of shifting conditions (abiotic factors, land use) on species. On the other hand, it must be recognized that risks for species and biocenoses due to climatic changescannot be definitely modelled. Therefore, biological-ecological risk factors will form qualitative sensitivity analyses which will give insight into the fitness of a species. As former analyses have shown, this index-based assessment can give a good idea of the susceptibility of species for anthropogenic influences and thus may shed light on species and habitats in urgent need of protection. These sensitivity analyses complement the quantitative analyses and will lead to a more precise risk evaluation.

The other two working packages are under the responsibility of the University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde:

WP 1: A database of a comprehensive, representative selection of protected areas in Germany is set up. It contains locality, protection status, conservation goals and objects, among others. In particular, NATURA 2000 sites in combination with large reserves (National Parks, Biosphere Reserves, Nature Parks) will make the list. This inventory forms the basis for the working packages 2 through 4.

The goal of WP 5 is to set up strategies and approaches to deal with climatic changes in protected areas and to enhance existing concepts. It also includes, wherever possible, the dialogue with stakeholders in conservation as well as land use, like conservation NGO’s and state/regional administrations. Courses of action and environmental guiding principles will have to offer adaptation opportunities to face climate change. A more dynamic as well as adaptive approach to conservation policy and management will form the main outcome.