Monitoring Climate Change in World Heritage Properties

Evaluating Landscape-Based Approach in the State of Conservation System

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Climate change is increasingly being recognized as a threat to natural and cultural World Heritage (WH) sites worldwide. Through its interaction with other stressors, climate change accelerates existing risks while also creating new obstacles. A more considerable focus is needed in both research and practice to explore proactive measures for combatting this issue (e.g., mitigation and actions prior to impacts occurring). World Heritage values in climate change decision-making processes is an important factor in this regard. This paper explores a discussion of climate change within the WH monitoring system. It offers an overview of practice based on the extent to which WH properties (natural, mixed and cultural) implement landscape-based approaches alongside the conservation and management of their outstanding universal value within the context of climate uncertainty and environmental change. Landscape approaches are gaining importance in the WH conservation system, where they aim to provide concepts and tools for managing heritage toward sustainable practices. This research analyses the state of conservation reports and provides an overview of practice across time, categories and geographical regions. Based on a theoretical approach, empirical analyses identify four landscape principles that are increasingly shaping the debate around climate change issues in WH properties. Although these are highly relevant to advancing much-needed collaboration among scientific disciplines and governance sectors, we argue that further understanding is required on the transformational process of heritage values, as well as on the nature–culture relationship, in order to underpin heritage as a source for local resilience and climate mitigation.