NEW! The Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy is now available.
NEW! Check out the Cultural Resources Impacts Table.
Cultural resources, historic buildings, archeological sites, battlefields, and historic landscapes experience similar effects from climate change as the natural resources that are located in the same area. Cultural resources are individually unique and non-renewable. Much of their meaning is tied to their specific location on the land. Even some plants used for cultural purposes are tied to a specific view or place.
Weathering, sunlight, moisture, and other natural factors have always posed challenges for protecting cultural resources. Current trends suggest that the rates, combinations, and intensity of these factors are already increasing. Climate change projections indicate that these irreplaceable resources are likely to be altered, deteriorated, or removed at faster rates or in ways not previously observed.
Unlike natural systems, cultural resources are utterly dependent upon people to help them withstand climate change. The adaptation strategy for cultural resources considers climate change impacts to specific locations, materials, and significance of these resources and the sustainability and feasibility potential responses. An adaptive framework for cultural resource management includes the following steps:
The adaptation options step is the most common point of discussion in adaptation planning, but it cannot function well without the other steps in the framework. While options can take many forms, a general list includes: