Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change in California: Nine Guiding Principles

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Over the next century, climate change will transform the Earth’s ecosystems, and the general directions of change for California are clear. Scientists expect higher temperatures, rising seas, shifting precipitation, drier conditions, and more frequent extreme events. Many, perhaps most, of the state’s ecosystems will change substantially in response as species ranges shift and ecological systems transform.

Given this situation, how can California secure its most important natural assets – the state’s vibrant ecosystems and the many benefits they provide to society – for the future? The Resources Legacy Fund (RLF) convened a panel of leading scientists in February 2012 to answer this question. The result is a set of Nine Guiding Principles developed through the Panel’s deliberations, consultation with potential users, and extensive review. These Principles should be relevant to decisions made at local-to-statewide scales and in contexts ranging from conservation and land use planning to infrastructure design and land and water resource management.

Broad adoption of the Nine Guiding Principles will help ensure that California:
* Supports diverse and well-functioning ecosystems even as environmental conditions shift, species move, and ecosystems transform;
* Aligns its many built and ecosystem-based responses to climate change so that they are efficient, effective, and complementary; and
* Draws on the wealth of available knowledge and expertise to get started now and to operate with foresight.

Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change in California: Nine Guiding Principles is a 32-page report that succinctly describes the Guiding Principles and the background and rationale for the project. Intended audiences include potential users, decision-makers, educators, technical experts, and members of the public.


Resources Legacy Fund. 2012. Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change in California:
Nine Guiding Principles. Resources Legacy Fund, Sacramento California, 32 pp. Retrieved from