The complexity of climate change impacts on ecological processes necessitates flexible and adaptive conservation strategies that cross traditional disciplines. Current strategies involving protected areas are predominantly fixed in space, and may on their own be inadequate under climate change. Here, we propose a novel approach to climate adaptation that combines permanent protected areas with temporary conservation areas to create flexible networks. Previous work has tended to consider permanent and dynamic protection as separate actions, but their integration could draw on the strengths of both approaches to improve biodiversity conservation and help manage for ecological uncertainty in the coming decades. As there are often time lags in the establishment of new permanent protected areas, the inclusion of dynamic conservation areas within permanent networks could provide critical transient protection to mitigate land-use changes and biodiversity redistributions. This integrated approach may be particularly useful in highly human-modified and fragmented landscapes where areas of conservation value are limited and long-term place-based protection is unfeasible. To determine when such an approach may be feasible, we propose the use of a decision framework. Under certain scenarios, these coupled networks have the potential to increase spatio-temporal network connectivity and help maintain biodiversity and ecological processes under climate change. Implementing these networks would require multidisciplinary scientific evidence, new policies, creative funding solutions, and broader acceptance of a dynamic approach to biodiversity conservation.

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Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

D'Aloia, C.C. (Cassidy C.), Naujokaitis-Lewis, I. (Ilona), Blackford, C. (Christopher), Chu, C. (Cindy), Curtis, J.M.R. (Janelle M.R.), Darling, E. (Emily), … Fortin, M.-J. (Marie-Josée). (2019). Coupled networks of permanent protected areas and dynamic conservation areas for biodiversity conservation under climate change. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7(FEB). doi:10.3389/fevo.2019.00027