Identifying and prioritising climate change adaptation actions for greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) conservation in Nepal

Pant, Ganesh ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1463-9273 and Maraseni, Tek ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9361-1983 and Apan, Armando ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5412-8881 and Allen, Benjamin L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1533-0163 (2022) Identifying and prioritising climate change adaptation actions for greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) conservation in Nepal. Peerj, 10:e12795. pp. 1-23.

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Abstract

Climate change has started impacting species, ecosystems, genetic diversity within species, and ecological interactions and is thus a serious threat to conserving biodiversity globally. In the absence of adequate adaptation measures, biodiversity may continue to decline, and many species will possibly become extinct. Given that global temperature continues to increase, climate change adaptation has emerged as an overarching framework for conservation planning. We identified both ongoing and probable climate change adaptation actions for greater one-horned rhinoceros conservation in Nepal through a combination of literature review, key informant surveys (n = 53), focus group discussions (n = 37) and expert consultation (n = 9), and prioritised the identified adaptation actions through stakeholder consultation (n = 17). The majority of key informants (>80%) reported that climate change has been impacting rhinoceros, and more than 65% of them believe that rhinoceros habitat suitability in Nepal has been shifting westwards. Despite these perceived risks, climate change impacts have not been incorporated well into formal conservation planning for rhinoceros. Out of 20 identified adaptation actions under nine adaptation strategies, identifying and protecting climate refugia, restoring the existing habitats through wetland and grassland management, creating artificial highlands in floodplains to provide rhinoceros with refuge during severe floods, and translocating them to other suitable habitats received higher priority. These adaptation actions may contribute to reducing the vulnerability of rhinoceros to the likely impacts of climate change. This study is the first of its kind in Nepal and is expected to provide a guideline to align ongoing conservation measures into climate change adaptation planning for rhinoceros. Further, we emphasise the need to integrating likely climate change impacts while planning for rhinoceros conservation and initiating experimental research and monitoring programs to better inform adaptation planning in the future.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2022 02:01
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2022 02:01
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adaptation action; Adaptive capacity; Biodiversity; Climate refugia; Connectivity; Protected area; Resilience
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.12795
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/46549

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