A global network for Coastal Resilience to support adaptation planning and post-storm redevelopment decisions


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - April 2013


What is Coastal Resilience?

Coastal Resilience is an approach which includes planning frameworks and tools that support decisions to reduce the ecological and socio-economic risks of coastal hazards. The approach includes 4 critical elements:

Assess Risk and Vulnerability to coastal hazards including alternative scenarios for current and future storms and sea level rise with community input

Identify Solutions for reducing vulnerability focusing on joint solutions across social, economic and ecological systems

Take Action to help communities develop and implement solutions 

Measure Effectiveness to ensure that our efforts to reduce disaster risk and apply ecosystem-based adaptation are successful


Is Coastal Resilience just about climate change and sea level rise?

No. Coastal Resilience is fundamentally about mitigating vulnerability for human communities and natural resources simultaneously.  Local vulnerability can come from many sources, including flooding from storms, king tides, oil spills and other coastal hazards. Climate change and sea level rise are important, because they will change the landscape impacted by these sources of vulnerability and exacerbate future risk.


Is Coastal Resilience just the web-based mapping application?

No. the mapping application is one useful tool in service of the Coastal Resilience framework. The development of decision support is iterative and adaptive and to be focused on the engagement of communities and decision-makers. The web mapping application has been exceedingly valuable for community engagement including the examination of (a) socio-economic and ecological vulnerability, (b) the science and policy of coastal hazards; and (c) the role of ecosystems in protecting natural and human coastal communities. 


Is community engagement an essential component of Coastal Resilience?

Yes - it is a core principle of Coastal Resilience to engage communities on the risks of coastal hazards and discuss options for adaptation. Moreover, the resources developed for communities including the reports, papers, data, website, and mapping application have helped us to effectively engage regional, national and international leaders. This engagement has established TNC and partners as leaders in the integration of socio-economic and ecological data to reduce vulnerability to coastal hazards. 


Where is Coastal Resilience being used and developed currently?

Coastal Resilience supports a community of practitioners around the world who are applying this approach to coastal hazard and adaptation issues in a growing number of geographies including New York and Connecticut, the Gulf of Mexico, St. Vincent and the Grenadines/ Grenada, the Florida Keys, Southern California, U.S. Virgin Islands, Papua New Guinea/the Solomon Islands, the Mesoamerican Reef in Central America, Marismas Nacionales in the Gulf of California, and in Puget Sound.  Coastal Resilience is a global network that touches down in specific places to engage communities through the use of spatially-explicit information, decision support tools and training focused on disaster risk reduction and nature-based solutions.


Can Coastal Resilience be used in data poor areas?

Yes. It can be used wherever any spatial data are being used or developed to assess and reduce risks from coastal hazards and climate change. 


Does Coastal Resilience only address coastal hazards and coastal protection services? 

Currently Coastal Resilience focuses on (a) the resources at risk from coastal hazards including flooding and inundation and (b) the options for protecting coastlines and people from these hazards, focusing particularly on natural solutions. Coastal Resilience identifies that these natural solutions may offer additional co-benefits. 


Can Coastal Resilience really reduce the risks of disaster?

Coastal Resilience promotes advance planning to mitigate disaster vulnerability, and encourages the use of nature-based approaches where appropriate.  While no amount of either natural or built infrastructure will provide protection from the biggest coastal hazards there is substantial evidence that coastal natural habitats can effectively protect coastlines and reduce human vulnerability to more typical annual and decadal coastal hazard events. Moreover, forward-thinking development plans that seek to reduce the number of people and structures (or at least do not continue to increase that risk) have huge social, economic and ecological benefits.


Is Coastal Resilience only site-based?

The focus of Coastal Resilience is on sites because the range of vulnerabilities, values and potential responses varies significantly from place to place. However, to assist practitioners in accessing critical data and visualization tools, we are building a global Coastal Resilience database and mapping application. This effort brings together global databases on coastal habitats and coastal hazards and creates a mapping site where individual programs can upload information for visualization. This effort leverages our resources and removes many technological hurdles that individual site-based projects have faced in accessing data and developing a mapping application. 


Is there a Coastal Resilience “community of practice” and how can that help with starting a project?

There is a growing community of practice around the family of Coastal Resilience project sites.  Relying on this community of practice, new geographies can learn from past efforts and initiate new projects. We offer this website and a Coastal Resilience Network web application as resources to help projects get started. Our team is working to formalize this community of practice so that it is clearer where projects are developing and who is involved.


Where can I get more information?

The Global Marine Initiative of TNC is the primary source of information regarding the coordination and production of the Coastal Resilience resources. Individual Coastal Resilience projects are all led or co-led by site-based leaders who focus on all elements of the project including science, policy, and community engagement. Together this group of practitioners across The Conservancy represents the Coastal Resilience team.


For more information contact: