Case Studies

Adaptation Case Studies

Adaptation involves taking practical actions to manage risks from climate impacts, protect communities, and strengthen the resilience of ecosystems. These case studies highlight the many ways land trusts are already working to assess impacts and reduce risks to people and the environment through stewardship solutions.

Building Resilience with Natural Adaptations to Change

Bainbridge Island Land Trust is working with property owners to implement natural adaptation solutions to build more resilient coastal systems. The Powel Shoreline Restoration Project removed shoreline bulkheading to enhance coastal habitats and reduce risks of destructive undercutting, leveraging a failing bulkhead to produce an adaptive win-win solution to adapt to change.

Go Zero – The Conservation Fund’s Reforestation Program

The Conservation Fund’s forest carbon offset projects are developed with careful consideration of climate and community benefits. The Fund’s carbon program supports both conservation-based forest management and forest restoration projects in some of America’s favorite places.

Jefferson Land Trust’s Conservation Plan and Forward-Facing Forestry

After five years of work, Jefferson Land Trust’s Conservation Plan, a long-range, hundred-year vision of county growth and resource stewardship, was completed in 2010. JLT’s projects highlight how strategic planning can effectively align complementary management objectives such as stewarding sustainable working lands, conserving habitat, providing recreation, and enhancing overall resilience of ecosystems.

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation: Resiliency Planning

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) works to restore and preserve natural resources within the watershed. Restoration projects combined with community education and outreach to improve land management practices have yielded measurable water quality improvements. By increasing protection of natural features such as marshes, barrier islands, and ridges, conservation efforts help protect surrounding communities – both ecological and socio-economic – from the impacts of increasingly stronger hurricanes and sea level rise.

Marin Agricultural Land Trust – Enhancing Carbon Sequestration

The Marin Carbon Project is working to respond to the rapid pace of global climate change by enhancing carbon sequestration in rangeland, agricultural, and forest soils through applied research, demonstration, and implementation. These efforts aim to enable landowners and land managers of agricultural ecosystems to serve as stewards of soil health and to undertake carbon farming in a manner that can improve on-farm productivity and viability, enhance ecosystem functions, and stop and reverse climate change.

Nebraska Land Trust – Crafting Flexible Easements to Respond to Change

At Nebraska Land Trust flexible easements further long-term management objectives. As climate conditions present new management threats, it is important that conservation easements allow for the flexibility to mitigate and adapt to these impacts.

North Florida Land Trust – Strategic Conservation Mapping

The North Florida Land Trust has used 26 natural resource criteria to map and prioritize strategic conservation objectives in a seven-county region. The resulting North Florida Conservation Priorities map offers a quantitative guide of conservation values, informing acquisition and management priorities in this area.

Planning for Marsh Migration at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Blackwater 2100 is a collaborative strategic conservation plan that aims to address salt marsh loss and migration in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.

Scenic Hudson: Projecting and Buffering Against Sea Level Rise Impacts

In New York, Scenic Hudson is conserving land in 82 communities in ten counties along the Hudson River to buffer against future sea level rise impacts. By targeting key properties for acquisition efforts, this land trust is working to ensure that natural processes such as marsh migration can continue to provide valuable ecological services as well as mitigate the effects of rising waters throughout the estuary.

South Kingstown Land Trust – Integrating Adaptation into Conservation Planning

The South Kingstown Land Trust (SKLT)’s vulnerability assessment and resulting conservation planning efforts identify organizational goals, natural resource assets, and management priorities. This iterative adaptive management approach enables the land trust to focus stewardship activities on critical ecosystems while allowing the flexibility to acknowledge uncertainties and revisit results. By integrating climate change adaptation considerations into conservation planning, SKLT is able to address changing environmental conditions using an informed and methodical approach, and to plan future acquisitions and restoration projects based on their stewardship objectives.