EPSCoR - Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments
Parks, people, and change: the importance of multistakeholder engagement in adaptation planning for conserved areas
Climate change challenges the traditional goals and conservation strategies of protected areas, necessitating adaptation to changing conditions. Denali National Park and Preserve (Denali) in south central Alaska, USA, is a vast landscape that is responding to climate change in ways that will impact both ecological resources and local communities. Local observations help to inform understanding of climate change and adaptation planning, but whose knowledge is most important to consider? For this project we interviewed long-term Denali staff, scientists, subsistence community members, bus drivers, and business owners to assess what types of observations each can contribute, how climate change is impacting each, and what they think the National Park Service should do to adapt. The project shows that each type of long-term observer has different types of observations, but that those who depend more directly on natural resources for their livelihoods have more and different observations than those who do not. These findings suggest that engaging multiple groups of stakeholders who interact with the park in distinct ways adds substantially to the information provided by Denali staff and scientists and offers a broader foundation for adaptation planning. It also suggests that traditional protected area paradigms that fail to learn from and foster appropriate engagement of people may be maladaptive in the context of climate change.
Data and Resources
Data Types: Report