Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts on the Coastal Wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico

Alessandra Score
Posted on: 2/26/2010 - Updated on: 6/08/2021

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Alex Score

Project Summary

This pilot project was designed to gather information to support adaptation policy development in Mexico. The project uses representative coastal wetland areas and associated inland basins to study biological function and biodiversity, the roles of these wetlands to the community’s water supply, and the environmental function to climate change impacts, especially increased temperatures, droughts, and sea level rise. The results of the project will help educate Mexico on the value of these wetlands and help guide policy recommendations on climate change adaptation for the coastal area.


Climate change will have severe impacts on coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico, especially on water resources, forestry, agriculture, and wetlands. This project serves as a pilot project in the region to demonstrate the importance of coastal wetlands and how climate change will be impacting these areas. It looks at a variety of climate change adaptation measures for the protection of these areas as a way to move climate change adaptation policy forward in Mexico to ultimately strengthen the resilience of coastal wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico and improve water resource management. The project is funded by The World Bank and implemented by National Institute of Ecology (INE).


This project has three main components in developing an Environmental Management Framework: developing a national climate change adaptation policy, evaluating current and predicted climate change impacts on the Gulf of Mexico wetlands, and implementing adaptation strategies on representative coastal wetlands. The project includes an analysis of measures to reduce climate change impacts on coastal wetlands and intervention measures to increase resilience, as well as potential environmental and social impacts. The areas used in this project include the wetlands of the Panuco-Altamira in Tamaulipas, Papaloapan Rivershed, Alvarado Lagoon in Veracruz, Carmen-Pajonal-Machona in Tabasco, and the Sian Ka’an Nature Conservancy site.

The project looked at increasing conservation areas, establishing buffer zones around wetlands, constructing stabilization barriers to buffer from extreme events and sea level rise, updating land zoning regulations to include sea level rise impacts and extreme weather events, restoring and reforesting with native species along corridors, strengthening sandbars that separate lagoons from the sea, and restoring coastal reefs to increase buffering capacity.

Outcomes and Conclusions

The results of this project are expected to support the planning and implementation of climate change adaptation policy for coastal wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, results will assist in the planning and implementation of wetland adaptation; assist in the development of an integrated resource management program with climate adaptation measures; prevent development in valuable mangrove areas and implement a mangrove restoration program; promote best management practices and more efficient water management strategies to maintain water supply for productive sectors; and develop mechanisms to promote sustainable land-use patterns that maintain the functional integrity of wetland ecosystems in the region.


Score, A. (2010). Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts on the Coastal Wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico [Case study on a project of The World Bank and the Instituto Nacional de Ecología (INE)]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated February 2010)

Affiliated Organizations

The World Bank provides low-interest loans, interest-free credits and grants to developing countries for a wide array of purposes that include investments in education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture and environmental and natural resource management.

INE, part of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, is responsible for the generation of scientific and technical information on environmental issues, as well as capacity building in human resourse areas, in order to inform society, support decision making, encourage the protection of the environment, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.