Protected areas under climate change: challenges and opportunities

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 (All day) to Thursday, January 21, 2021 (All day)

Protected areas (PAs) have long been the cornerstone of conservation. However, some authors question their utility in a world where species distributions are changing in response to climate change. New species of conservation concern may move into reserves, meaning PAs will remain valuable but for different reasons.

This therefore raises the question of whether the current system of designation is fit for purpose. Can a new system be designed to allow for species movement and community change? Could this allow protected areas to remain effective in a changing world, balancing the increased demand for Nature Based Solutions and considering management options to aid adaptation to climate change? Join us at this workshop and help us find out.


Each day will have a morning (08:00-11:00 GMT, suiting Asian and Australasian participants) and afternoon session (15:00-18:00 GMT, suiting American participants).

Day one

We will review the science, exploring how PAs are impacted by climate change, their effectiveness in conservation under climate change and importance in delivering Nature Based Solutions to climate change. Invited speakers will set the scene, followed by five-minute lightning talks from participants, with short discussions to summarise overall findings.

Day two

We will explore whether current PA systems are fit for purpose, in terms of designation, management and how they are adapting to climate change. We will hear from invited experts from government agencies and NGOs, followed with more lightning talks, and a structured discussion on the fitness for purpose of these methods.

Day three

Participants will collaboratively design a better way of adapting protected area systems for climate change, covering designation and management.

Confirmed invited speakers

So far, our speakers include:

  • Jeff Price – Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
  • Ainhize Butron – European Nature Conservation Agency
  • Risto Heikkinen – Finnish Environment Institute
  • Stephanie Manel – University of Montpellier
  • Nicholas Macgregor – Parks Australia
  • Raimo Virkkala – Finnish Environment Institute


We welcome ‘lightning talks’ of five minutes (maximum of five slides) from any participant. Please apply when registering by choosing the relevant ticket option for you. If you are a student, postgraduate research assistant, and a citizen of/working in a ‘low-income economy’ or ‘lower-middle-income economy’ country according to the World Bank categorization you may be able to apply for one of our limited free spaces. Please get in touch with to apply.


Registration is currently open and will close on 4 Jan 2021.