Date of Award

Winter 2012

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Mimi Becker


This case study research investigated three coastal communities in New England engaged in climate change adaptation. The research goals were to (1) Identify and describe the factors that prompt communities to plan for climate change impacts, (2) To elucidate the types of approaches taken by communities in planning for climate change impacts, and (3) To identify outcomes that transpire from engaging in climate adaptation. The major factors prompting climate adaptation included experience with extreme weather events, local leadership on climate change, and access to technical assistance. Each adaptation process was largely stakeholder-driven. The approaches varied and included utilizing local stories and experiences, updating a traditional hazard mitigation planning framework, and using a technical modeling tool. Major enduring outcomes included increased capacity for adaptation and other local issues, new collaborations or strengthened partnerships, increased attention to existing vulnerabilities, and a foundation for iterative action on adaptation.