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About the Adaption Design Tool (ADT)

About the ADT

Natural resource managers have communicated a need for improved methods and tools for effective adaptation of ecosystem-based management activities in the context of extreme events and rapid environmental change. In response to calls for practical support in this area, an inter-agency team led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed an Adaptation Design Tool (ADT) that uses a structured approach to break down the complex adaptation process into tractable steps. The tool guides users through a series of design considerations to:

1) adjust currently-planned management actions to be more climate-smart,

2) brainstorm and craft new adaptation actions to address remaining vulnerabilities, and

3) identify research gaps and interactive effects that need to be considered before implementation.

The ADT was developed under the Corals & Climate Adaptation Planning project of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, a collaborative effort of the EPA with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of the Interior and The Nature Conservancy.

While initially tested for coral reefs, the tool is also fully transferable to other natural resource systems and sectors; it was adopted by the Chesapeake Bay Program and used in workshops on climate-smart design and strategic planning for black duck wetland habitat, seagrass habitat and toxic contaminant management.

This tool is intended to

  • advance the practice of assessment and decision-making science,
  • inform higher level strategic planning, and
  • enable systematic, transparent and inclusive thought processes

to tackle the practical implications of rapidly changing conditions for ecosystem-based management.

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History of ADT

Below is a list of important milestones to the Adaption Design Tool.

Date Milestone
May 2020 The Adaptation Design Tool (ADT) and was incorporated into the Global Climate Explorer (GCX) website.
Apr 2019 The Coral Reef Restoration Online Course (with the Adaptation Design Tool) became available.
Oct 2017 The Adaptation Design Tool Online Course became available.
Jan 2017

The Adaptation Design Tool: Corals & Climate Adaptation Planning (CCAP) user's guide was released.

Dec 2015 - Jan 2016 Expert consultations were conducted on the draft the Adaptation Design Tool in Hawai’i and Puerto Rico.
Jul 2014 A stakeholder workshop was held to discuss climate-smart adaptation in Hawai’i.
Feb 2013 The Corals & Climate Adaptation Planning (CCAP) project kicks off.

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Journal Articles

Online Training

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For assistance/questions please use the Contact Us About the Adaptation Design Tool page. For general Global Climate Explorer questions, separate from the ADT tool, please use the link below.