The Southeast CASC and the South Atlantic Conservation Blueprint team have teamed up to present the SE CASC South Atlantic Spring/Summer Science Series. We hope you will join us as we highlight some of the SE CASC funded science projects relevant to conservation in the Southeast and South Atlantic region. The second webinar of the series, presented by Mitch Eaton (Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center) will be held on May 21 at 10am ET. Learn more about the series here.
Building Adaptive Capacity in a Coastal Region Experiencing Global Change
Coastal ecosystems in the eastern U.S. have been severely altered by local processes resulting from human development and by global-scale ecological changes associated with climate change. These forces are degrading the capacity of ecological and social systems to respond to disturbance. The goal of this project was to foster active engagement with stakeholders and encourage building of effective networks and trust across organizations and individuals in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. We established the Cape Romain Partnership for Coastal Conservation, which included individuals from federal and state resource agencies, local conservation NGOs, and organizations representing underserved community interests. The Partnership members originated our research topics, which focused on quantifying key drivers of change – localized sea-level rise (SLR) predictions, estimates of hurricane inundation as amplified by SLR, urban growth trends and forecasts, and impacts on management. We also worked to inform coastal planning by modeling relationships between land-use change and flooding, ecosystem services, and forest management, incorporating the impacts of uncertainty and risk on long-term investments in land protection. Our focus was on the early phase of social engagement, by bringing together various conservation interests and using a variety of tools for co-production of knowledge and meaning, and by considering how the lessons learned could be helpful for engaging more diverse social interests. These interactions with Lowcountry planners and residents revealed a complex relationship between society and the environment, with sense of place, cultural heritage, and quality of life being important considerations for adaptation planning.