[Coral-List] EPA Releases New Report on Adaptation in Coral Reefs

Rowan, Emily ERowan at icfi.com
Thu Feb 5 09:36:05 EST 2009

New Report Available on Ecosystems and Climate Change

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a report that can
help reduce the potential impacts of climate change on estuaries,
forests, wetlands, coral reefs, and other sensitive ecosystems. The
report, entitled Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for
Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources, identifies strategies to
protect the environment as these changes occur.

Managing our natural resources in the face of climate change

"People always say 'Don't just tell us what will happen - tell us what
we can do about it,'" said Dr. George Gray, assistant administrator for
EPA's Office of Research and Development. "By using the strategies
outlined in this document, we can help managers protect our parks,
rivers, and forests from possible future impacts of a changing climate."

To develop this assessment, scientists studied national parks, national
forests, national wildlife refuges, wild and scenic rivers, national
estuaries, and marine protected areas - all protected by the federal
government. The report takes a unique approach by using the management
goals set for each protected area to understand what strategies will
increase the resilience of each ecosystem - in other words, increase the
amount of change or disturbance that an ecosystem can absorb before it
shifts to a different ecosystem. Using these strategies, managers can
maintain the original goals set for these ecosystems under changing
climatic conditions. The strategies will be useful to federal agencies
and can also be broadly applied to lands and waters managed by other
government or nongovernmental organizations. 

Key report findings

The report finds that climate change can increase the impact of
traditional stressors (such as pollution or habitat destruction) on
ecosystems, and that many existing best management practices to reduce
these stressors can also be applied to reduce the impacts of climate
change. For example, current efforts to reverse habitat destruction by
restoring vegetation along streams also increase ecosystem resilience to
climate change impacts, such as greater amounts of pollutants and
sediments from more intense rainfall. Our country's ability to adapt to
climate change will depend on a variety of factors including recognizing
the barriers to implementing new strategies, expanding collaboration
among ecosystem managers, creatively re-examining program goals and
authorities, and being flexible in setting priorities and managing for

Contribution to the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) 

The Global Change Research Program in EPA's Office of Research and
Development led the development of the report. It is one of 21 synthesis
and assessment products commissioned by the CCSP. The peer-reviewed
report provides the best-available science to date on management
adaptations for ecosystems and resources.

The CCSP was established in 2002 to provide the Nation with
science-based knowledge to manage the risks and opportunities of changes
in the climate and related environmental systems.. The program is
responsible for coordinating and integrating the research of 13 federal
agencies on climate and global change.

How to get the report

To view online or obtain copies of Preliminary Review of Adaptation
Options for Climate-Sensitive Ecosystems and Resources, visit:

For more information on the report, visit:



Emily Rowan

ICF International

1725 Eye Street, NW. Suite 1000

Washington, DC 20006



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