Adaptation to changes in climate is nothing new. Throughout history, human societies have repeatedly demonstrated a strong capacity for adapting to different climates and environmental changes. However, the current rate of global climate change is unusually high compared to past changes that society has experienced.
Society's ability to anticipate some of the impacts of climate change on ecosystems can help us develop management programs that help ecosystems adapt. Ecosystems will also be faced with adaptation challenges. Adaptation will need to be continuously coupled with actions to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate-related impacts are occurring across regions of the country and across many sectors of our economy. Many state and local governments are already preparing for the impacts of climate change through "adaptation," which is planning for the changes that are expected to occur.