Transboundary Regional Planning Collaboration for Climate Change Adaptation: A Case Study of Jasper National Park, Mount Robson Provincial Park, and Willmore Wilderness Park.
O'Neill, Natasha Anna
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Climate change threatens the integrity of many parks and protected areas worldwide. Mountain parks are amongst the most vulnerable, facing changes in temperature, hydrology, glaciation, fire frequency, and pest and disease outbreaks. Species migration is a key tool in climate change adaptation, but often physical and jurisdictional fragmentation makes it impossible for species to migrate, putting species at risk of extirpation or extinction. Transboundary collaboration and regional planning are tools that can help physically connected parks and protected areas overcome jurisdictional fragmentation and allow for species migration, giving species a greater chance at being able to adapt to climate change. However, there are many barriers to transboundary collaboration and regional planning that makes this difficult to achieve. This research aims to address the challenges parks face with regards to transboundary collaboration and regional planning, and provide possible solutions for overcoming these challenges. A qualitative research project was conducted to determine the state of transboundary collaboration and regional planning in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, using Jasper National Park, Mount Robson Provincial Park, and Willmore Wilderness Park as the study area. A document review, questionnaire, and Importance-Performance Analysis were conducted to determine: the current policy within the Parks Canada Agency, British Columbia Parks, and Alberta Parks in regards to the management implications of climate change; the degree to which transboundary collaboration and regional planning are occurring in and around the study area with regard to climate change; the challenges parks face with regards to transboundary collaboration and regional planning; how these challenges should be addressed; and to determine what park agencies and managers need to be able to participate in transboundary collaboration and regional planning. Ultimately, it became clear that while transboundary collaboration is a potentially effective tool for climate change adaptation, little transboundary collaboration is occurring within the study area. In order for this to occur, all parks must have appropriate legislation, policies, and plans in place; British Columbia Parks has these, but both Parks Canada and Alberta Parks do not. Parks planners and managers are not able to put priority on transboundary collaboration until it is mandated within the management plans. However, parks managers are supportive of transboundary collaboration for climate change and it seems likely that the parks will use this tool as it becomes increasingly necessary over the next 25 years.