Tribal Climate Change Adaptation Options: A Review of the Scientific Literature

The purpose of this report is to summarize information in published scientific literature that identifies physical changes in the climate, vulnerabilities of tribal resources to climate change, and identify adaptation options that tribes in EPA Region 10 could implement to minimize the possible adverse impacts to their well being.

The report describes climate change impacts such as increasing global temperature, changes in precipitation, and extreme weather events. The report includes information on the vulnerability of different systems to climate change.

The report states that tribal nations must develop climate change adaptation plans to effectively respond to climate change. The report outlines the following climate change adaptation process:

  1. identify the types and magnitude of climate change impacts that are likely to occur in the region of concern,
  2. determine the sensitivity and potential vulnerabilities of ecosystems, natural resources, human health and well-being to these impacts;
  3. identify sustainable goals that consider the impacts of climate change;
  4. assess the current status (baseline conditions) of ecosystems, natural resources, human health and communities with respect to these goals;
  5. identify all feasible adaptation options that would meet the sustainable goals;
  6. select the most effective approach (set of options) based on available resources and the projected effectiveness of the approach in meeting the sustainable goals; and
  7. select measurable indicators of climate change and periodically monitor these indicators to decide if the selected adaptation approach is effective, or whether an alternative approach would be more beneficial.

Adaptation options are listed for each of the following areas:

  • Ecosystems
  • Forest ecosystems
  • Freshwater resources
  • Coastal systems
  • Agriculture and food production
  • Human health
  • Energy production and use

Examples of adaptation strategies include: increasing redundancy and buffers, assisting transitions and range shifts, Integrated Water Resources Management, Integrated Coastal Zone Management, and the protection of important salmon populations through habitat restoration and conservation. The report also describes how tribal governments can establish electric utilities specifically for their members with an emphasis on promoting energy efficiency and locally available renewable resources.



Publication Date: January 6, 2010

Author or Affiliated User:

  • Keith A. Rose

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Planning guides


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