John Matthews

World Wildlife Fund

Abstract: Freshwater-dependent species are facing widespread threats from anthropogenic climate change, but new climate-aware approaches to freshwater conservation are only now emerging. In the developing world, these approaches face a particular challenge since freshwater ecosystems are typically embedded into vulnerable economies and livelihoods. These new approaches are based on a still-developing philosophy of climate change adaptation and resilience. The Ganges basin on the Indian subcontinent and the Yangtze basin in China both have their headwaters in the Himalayas but span quite different climatic, economic, and cultural zones. Traditional conservation challenges in these basins are being exacerbated by significant changes in regional climate regimes. The Pantanal wetlands and Rio Negro basin in South America have received relatively smaller and more recent impacts from intense human economies but are facing equally dramatic climate changes. Basin-scale climate adaptation plans and programs in progress to mitigate climate impacts and facilitate ecosystem and economic transitions to new climate regimes are discussed.

Video Length: 23 Minutes, 13 Seconds

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There and Back Again: Lessons in Global Freshwater Climate Adaptation