Increase Genetic Resilience: An Adaptation Brief

Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Posted on: 2/25/2022 - Updated on: 2/25/2022

Posted by




The Adaptation Briefs demonstrate how different adaptation strategies reduce vulnerabilities to key climate stressors and include case studies where these strategies have been implemented. The briefs complement the Climate Adaptation Toolkit, which contains tools to help MPA practitioners evaluate the vulnerability of their sites to climate change and identify appropriate adaptation strategies.

This brief highlights examples of adaptation actions that increase genetic resilience.

This brief is also available in Spanish and French.


Novel techniques to increase genetic resilience include those that involve climate-informed gene pool enhancement or alteration, with the goal of promoting organisms that are better-adapted to future climate stressors. These strategies may play an important role in increasing resistance to climate stressors, accelerating recovery from disturbances, and maintaining critical ecosystem services (e.g., wildlife habitat, water filtration). Novel techniques such as these are also associated with increased risks and must be approached very carefully. Risks may include reduced genetic diversity, increased sensitivity to non-target stressors, introduction of pathogens or predators, and inefficient use of limited resources (e.g., funding, staff capacity). This Adaptation Brief is intended to provide an overview of relevant techniques but should not be interpreted as advocating for their use, which should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Featured Case Studies:

  1. Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Great Marsh (Essex Bay, Massachusetts, United States)
  2. Regrowing Coral Along the Riviera Maya, Mexico (Quintana Roo, Mexico)

About the MPA Toolkit

This brief is based on adaptation strategies and case studies from the Climate Adaptation Toolkit for Marine and Coastal Protected Areas (MPA Toolkit), an online resource created to make climate adaptation planning a simple, direct, and feasible process for marine protected area managers. The MPA Toolkit contains:

  • A step-by-step guide to undertaking a Rapid Vulnerability Assessment for marine and coastal areas
  • Structured and searchable adaptation strategy ideas with supporting case studies, reports and tools
  • Foundational adaptation resources
  • Selected experts who can be contacted for technical guidance


Increase Genetic Resilience: An Adaptation Brief. January 14, 2022. Part of the Climate Adaptation Toolkit for Marine and Coastal Protected Areas. EcoAdapt and Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

Affiliated Organizations

Since 1994, Canada, Mexico and the United States have collaborated in protecting North America's environment through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC).

The NAAEC came into force at the same time as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and marks a commitment that liberalization of trade and economic growth in North America would be accompanied by effective cooperation and continuous improvement in the environmental protection provided by each country.

EcoAdapt is at the center of climate change adaptation innovation. We provide support, training, and assistance to make conservation and management less vulnerable and more Climate Savvy. Over the past 200 years, great strides have been made in the world of conservation and now all of that is at risk because of climate change. EcoAdapt is working to ensure the success of these past efforts by delivering a framework for climate adaptation.

Related Resources