NWF Green Works for Climate Resilience: A Guide to Community Planning for Climate Change

This guide from the National Wildlife Federation is a primer on nature-based approaches that communities can use to respond and prepare for the impacts of climate change. It highlights common examples, profiles approaches that communities are already using, and describes strategies that communities can use to apply nature-based approaches.

For this guide, climate impacts and related solutions are divide into five categories:

  • sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and erosion (includes marine as well as freshwater coasts in the Great Lakes region);
  • drought and increasing aridity;
  • extreme heat and the urban heat island effect;
  • inland flooding and stormwater management; and
  • changes to the natural landscape.

The chapter called ‘Working with Nature to Prepare for Climate Impacts’ begins with a definition and description of each climate change impact (e.g., coastal flooding), followed by the kinds of nature-based approaches that can be used to address each impact (e.g., oyster reefs).

Within the Coastal Impacts section on sea level rise, coastal flooding, and erosion, the benefits of a living shoreline are detailed along with successfully implemented examples and cost benefits. The Urban Heat Island Effect section discusses urban forestry and provides detailed implementation strategies for using nature-based approaches to adapt to increasing temperatures.  

Longer case studies of select communities are included to describe how nature-based approaches have been planned and implemented for each of the impact areas discussed. 

Another chapter on the ‘Implementation of Adaptation Actions’ describes approaches to using nature-based approaches, organized into the following categories:

  • multi-sector adaptation planning,
  • updating existing programs and policies,
  • changes to zoning and land use regulations,
  • creating new programs and policies, and
  • developing public-private partnerships.





Publication Date: April 2014

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Kara Reeve
  • Ryan Kingston

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Planning guides


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User Comments:

  • September 14, 2018
    Jessica Grannis, Adaptation Program Director at Georgetown Climate Center

    This is a great resource for helping communities deploy nature-based solutions to climate change impacts, including sea-level rise, coastal flooding, urban heat islands, and more.