Caribbean Regional Climate Sub Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has deemed climate change a serious threat to agriculture and food security worldwide. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) acknowledges that climate change has the potential to ‘confound’ the advancement of its mission and core obligation “to provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues through an evolving service role at the nexus of traditional rural American food, fiber, and fuel production and the emerging economic opportunities in renewable energy, broadband, and recreation.” Over the next 25 years, the effects of climate change to agriculture and forestry in the United States are likely to be mixed, but generally they are expected to amplify current biotic stressors. The overall effects will depend largely on the adaptive actions taken by land managers and producers.
Response to climate change is a central theme in the USDA’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. The second of the Plan’s five goals is to ensure National forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while enhancing water resources. As an action point to this strategic goal, USDA has established seven Regional Climate Hubs and three Sub Hubs to deliver science-based knowledge and practical information to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to support decision making related to climate change. The Hubs will provide technical support, assessments and forecasts, and outreach and education. Each Hub and Sub Hub is designed to be the nexus of a network of connected activities or services. Operational centers for each Hub will be located either in a regional facility operated by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) or USDA’s Forest Service (USFS). The Hubs are expected to maintain a dynamic network of public, academic, and private sector organizations, researchers, and outreach specialists in order to address vulnerabilities to climate change within forestry and agriculture. As part of this Hub network, the Caribbean Climate Sub Hub (CCSH) is focused on tropical forestry and agriculture and engaged in vulnerability assessments for the U.S. Caribbean region. This report is an initial step in these efforts.