How to Consider Climate Change in Coastal Conservation


Climate change is affecting coastal environments and the way coastal conservation is approached. It is increasingly important to consider climate change impacts during conservation planning and action in order to protect natural habitat and allow it to adapt and continue to provide natural protective benefits for communities over time.

This step-by-step approach can be used to create a new conservation plan or update an existing one that incorporates climate change information. It is suitable for anyone working to manage or conserve lands in coastal areas. This includes wetland, floodplain, or emergency managers; planners; or conservation organizations. The six iterative steps draw from existing strategic conservation planning frameworks; however, the steps here focus on climate considerations and key resources relevant to the coastal environment, including coastal watersheds.

Six-Step Process:

  1. Articulate conservation goals and scope
  2. Identify conservation targets and key supporting attributes
  3. Identify non-climate stressors and evaluate their impact on conservation
  4. Identify climate stressors and evaluate the impact on conservation targets
  5. Review goals and identify management strategies
  6. Formulate a long-term management plan based on selected strategies
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