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Riparian ecosystems in the 21st Century: hotspots for climate change adaptation?

Riparian ecosystems in the 21st Century: hotspots for climate change adaptation?
Riparian ecosystems in the 21st Century: hotspots for climate change adaptation?
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.
1432-9840
359-381
Capon, Samantha J.
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Chambers, Lynda E.
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Mac Nally, Ralph
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Naiman, Robert J.
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Davies, Peter
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Marshall, Nadine
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Pittock, Jamie
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Reid, Michael
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Capon, Timothy
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Douglas, Michael
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Catford, Jane A.
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Baldwin, Darren S.
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Stewardson, Michael
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Roberts, Jane
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Parsons, Meg
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Williams, Stephen E.
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Capon, Samantha J.
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Chambers, Lynda E.
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Mac Nally, Ralph
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Naiman, Robert J.
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Davies, Peter
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Marshall, Nadine
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Pittock, Jamie
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Reid, Michael
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Capon, Timothy
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Douglas, Michael
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Catford, Jane A.
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Baldwin, Darren S.
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Stewardson, Michael
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Roberts, Jane
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Parsons, Meg
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Williams, Stephen E.
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Capon, Samantha J., Chambers, Lynda E., Mac Nally, Ralph, Naiman, Robert J., Davies, Peter, Marshall, Nadine, Pittock, Jamie, Reid, Michael, Capon, Timothy, Douglas, Michael, Catford, Jane A., Baldwin, Darren S., Stewardson, Michael, Roberts, Jane, Parsons, Meg and Williams, Stephen E. (2013) Riparian ecosystems in the 21st Century: hotspots for climate change adaptation? Ecosystems, 16 (3), 359-381. (doi:10.1007/s10021-013-9656-1).

Record type: Article

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.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 13 March 2013
Published date: April 2013
Organisations: Environmental

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Local EPrints ID: 400866
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/400866
ISSN: 1432-9840
PURE UUID: eef11ce0-782b-4e52-b187-72f519977fb6

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Date deposited: 30 Sep 2016 12:28
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 20:04

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Contributors

Author: Samantha J. Capon
Author: Lynda E. Chambers
Author: Ralph Mac Nally
Author: Robert J. Naiman
Author: Peter Davies
Author: Nadine Marshall
Author: Jamie Pittock
Author: Michael Reid
Author: Timothy Capon
Author: Michael Douglas
Author: Jane A. Catford
Author: Darren S. Baldwin
Author: Michael Stewardson
Author: Jane Roberts
Author: Meg Parsons
Author: Stephen E. Williams

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