The adaptation for conservation targets (ACT) framework: A tool for incorporating climate change into natural resource management

Molly S. Cross, Erika S. Zavaleta, Dominique Bachelet, Marjorie L. Brooks, Carolyn A.F. Enquist, Erica Fleishman, Lisa J. Graumlich, Craig R. Groves, Lee Hannah, Lara Hansen, Greg Hayward, Marni Koopman, Joshua J. Lawler, Jay Malcolm, John Nordgren, Brian Petersen, Erika L. Rowland, Daniel Scott, Sarah L. Shafer, M. Rebecca ShawGary M. Tabor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


As natural resource management agencies and conservation organizations seek guidance on responding to climate change, myriad potential actions and strategies have been proposed for increasing the long-term viability of some attributes of natural systems. Managers need practical tools for selecting among these actions and strategies to develop a tailored management approach for specific targets at a given location. We developed and present one such tool, the participatory Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) framework, which considers the effects of climate change in the development of management actions for particular species, ecosystems and ecological functions. Our framework is based on the premise that effective adaptation of management to climate change can rely on local knowledge of an ecosystem and does not necessarily require detailed projections of climate change or its effects. We illustrate the ACT framework by applying it to an ecological function in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, USA)-water flows in the upper Yellowstone River. Wesuggest that the ACT framework is a practical tool for initiating adaptation planning, and for generating and communicating specific management interventions given an increasingly altered, yet uncertain, climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-351
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Conservation
  • Decision-making
  • Management
  • Natural resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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