Adapt to Change

Two men wade in a forested mountain lake while pushing an inflatable gray boat
Following upstream shifts in low-temperature waters needed by native bull trout, Glacier National Park biologists relocated bull trout upstream of natural barriers to help them persist in the park. Here they monitor the species' success in this new environment.
A rapidly changing climate is dramatically affecting NPS natural and cultural resources, as well as facilities, operations, and the visitor experience. Addressing climate change across the full range of NPS planning efforts is integral to achieving the NPS mission under these conditions of rapid environmental change. Addressing current and anticipated impacts is known as climate change adaptation. Defined as “the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects,” adaptation is a form of risk management that seeks to reduce climate-related vulnerabilities or take advantage of potential benefits. The scope, pace, and magnitude of climate-related changes will continue to present new challenges for the NPS, with an accompanying reality that it will not be possible to safeguard all park resources, processes, assets, and values in their current form or context over the long term.

Better understanding climate change vulnerabilities in parks and routinely incorporating climate change adaptation into NPS planning will best prepare NPS managers for continuous and uncertain changes to come. A scenario-based adaptation approach is often important to help managers and planners understand and work with the typically broad range of ways that climate may change. Within this context, NPS managers will need to consider when and where it is strategic to resist undesirable changes, when it may be prudent to accept changing conditions, and when it may be appropriate to actively direct change in valued systems and resources towards preferred new conditions.

Scroll down to learn more, or check out the Publications page to find more peer-reviewed adaptation science from the NPS Climate Change Response Program.

More Adaptation Research from Around the NPS

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