Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Climate resiliency credit iStock user EAGiven

Climate Resilience and Adaptation

Given accelerating global climate change, understanding and enhancing the ways in which our social and ecological systems can withstand, respond to, and recover from changes (e.g., sea level rise, seasonal shifts) and disruptions (e.g., floods, hurricanes, fires) is critical.

The Nicholas Institute is engaged in work exploring the role that coastal habitats play in coastal protection and blue carbon in the Eastern U.S., challenges to payments for blue carbon, and policies to promote coral reef resiliency. We are also supporting the State of North Carolina in understanding how wetlands and floodplains can be managed to enhance resilience and carbon storage.

In addition, the Institute has developed a series of interactive tools and provided analysis to help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers better manage its reservoirs for flow and storage of water in the face of climate change.

Through our partnership with the Climate Adaptation Science Center hosted at NC State, the Institute has been helping state and federal agencies think about how management of our natural lands and wildlife may affect the provision of ecosystem services over time.


Coastal Blue Carbon

Research at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions examines the economic and scientific challenges that need to be addressed in order to determine whether payments for storing coastal blue carbon may one day help conserve mangroves, seagrass meadows, and salt marshes, and keep them from being converted to other uses and releasing their stores of greenhouse gas.

North Carolina Natural and Working Lands

When managed sustainably, natural and working lands—including farms, forests, and wetlands—can store carbon, enhance community and ecosystem resilience, and provide many other social, economic and environmental benefits.

U.S. Coastal Habitat Policy Review

Coastal habitats in the United States provide significant environmental, social, and economic benefits, including shoreline protection, carbon sequestration, food provision, and recreational and cultural services.

Carbon Sequestration and Resiliency in Coastal Habitats

Coastal habitats’ ability to store carbon and protect natural and human communities from hazards makes them valuable assets in state and community efforts to enhance coastal resilience and support climate mitigation.


The majority of United States reservoirs were constructed when climate was thought to be unchanging and past precipitation and temperatures were reliable for predicting future conditions.

Coral Reef Resiliency

Warm-water coral reefs around the world have undergone rapid and accelerating changes in recent decades as ocean temperatures have risen with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.