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Tribal Climate Change Adaptation Options: A Review of Scientific Literature

Keith A. Rose
Created: 1/05/2010 - Updated: 9/23/2019


From the Introduction:

Tribal Nations will likely be one of the most heavily impacted populations in North America by Climate Change due to several factors including an intimate, long-standing relationship with the land, limited and relatively non-diverse economies, poor energy security and transportation options, and the practice of subsistence activities in many communities. These characteristics of Tribal Nations make them more vulnerable or sensitive to the impacts of Climate Change. The most likely tribal resources effected by Climate Change are ecosystems, natural resource, human health and energy production and use. The purpose of this report is to summarize information in published scientific literature that identify physical changes in the climate due to Climate Change, to identify vulnerabilities of tribal resources to Climate Change, and to identify adaptation options that tribes in Region 10 could implement to minimize the possible adverse effects to their life style and well being. This report is intended to be a ‘living’ document and will be updated and revised, as needed, in response to the needs of the tribes, and to incorporate the most recent information on Climate Change adaptation in the scientific literature.

The impacts of Climate Change, as predicted by various models, includes increasing air temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, increasing severity of drought in arid climates, more frequent extreme weather events, earlier snow melt in the mountains, and rising ocean levels. These climatic impacts have the potential to adversely affect the biodiversity and function of ecosystems, availability and quality of natural resources, productivity of agriculture and forestry, human health, and societal infrastructure. A dynamic interaction exists between people and ecosystems and natural resources. People both directly and indirectly drive change in ecosystems and natural resources, and the changes in ecosystems and natural resources cause changes in human well-being. The effects of Climate Change are already being experienced in various regions of the world by various people, and the effects of Climate Change are predicted to increase as concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere continue to increase. Adaptation is widely recognized in the literature as a tool to minimize the effects of Climate Change on ecosystems and natural resource

Published On

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Tribal / First Nation
Sector Addressed: 
Public Health
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Air temperature
Ocean acidification
Public health risks
Storms or extreme weather events
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Incorporate future conditions into natural resources planning and policies
Capacity Building
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies

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Climate Risks and Adaptive Capacity in Aboriginal Communities South of 60 Degrees Latitude

Photo attributed to Gillfoto. Incorporated here under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Climate Justice
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods

Current efforts to understand the impacts of climate change on Aboriginal communities in Canada focus on those groups north of the 60th parallel.