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An integrated climate-biodiversity framework to improve planning and policy: an application to wildlife crossings and landscape connectivity

Robert Newell, University of the Fraser Valley; Royal Roads University
Ann Dale, Royal Roads University
Nina-Marie Lister, Ryerson University


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Planning and policy are best done through integrated approaches that holistically address multiple sustainability issues. Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the most significant issues facing our planet. Accordingly, advancements in integrated sustainability planning and policy require a means for examining how certain strategies and actions may align or conflict with these sustainability imperatives. Here, we enhance the knowledge of integrated approaches for addressing sustainability challenges by developing and applying a framework for examining different planning and policy areas in the context of climate action and biodiversity conservation. As a case study, we used wildlife crossing planning and landscape connectivity policy in Canada, which is currently piecemeal, fragmented, and could benefit from an integrated approach. The study was conducted in two stages. First, we developed an analytical framework for examining issues in the context of climate action and biodiversity conservation co-benefits and trade-offs. Then, we applied the framework to wildlife crossing and landscape connectivity issues to elucidate opportunities and challenges for integrated planning and policy. We used a literature review to develop an integrated climate-biodiversity framework (ICBF). ICBF was subsequently applied to wildlife crossing and landscape connectivity planning and policies in Canada. ICBF maps relationships between climate action and biodiversity conservation co-benefits and trade-offs and is organized into six themes: green space, transportation, green infrastructure, food and agriculture, energy, and land management. Applying ICBF to participant interview data produced insights into opportunities and challenges for integrated approaches to wildlife crossing and landscape connectivity by elucidating potential co-benefits and trade-offs such as alignments between stormwater management and aquatic crossings (i.e., co-benefits) and potential issues related to energy development and habitat fragmentation (i.e., trade-offs). ICBF has application beyond wildlife crossings, and its continual use and refinement will result in a better understanding of how to effectively implement integrated approaches and transition toward sustainable development paths.

Key words

biodiversity; climate change; integrated planning; landscape connectivity; sustainability; wildlife crossings

Copyright © 2022 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087