National and international efforts to combat climate change are not yet close to meeting the severity of the problem; however, states and municipalities are rising to the challenge, working locally to identify solutions that can slow, offset, or facilitate adaptation to climate change.
Martha’s Vineyard, an 87-square-mile island off the southern coast of Massachusetts, is one such example. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission Climate Action Task Force (CATF) has embarked on developing an Island-wide climate action plan that includes a range of scientific and engineering studies designed to support climate-smart land management and risk reduction strategies.
In collaboration with the CATF and Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, a local Vineyard land trust, Woodwell scientists are launching a comprehensive study with goals to:
Airborne LiDAR point-cloud images of Martha’s Vineyard. Individual points are colored by elevation above sea level: at/near sea level is blue and the tallest objects (e.g., tree tops) are red.
The results of this study will be incorporated into a series of guidance documents on best practices for realizing natural climate solutions across the Vineyard’s forested, agricultural, coastal, and managed lands as well as in a set of risk assessments to address the threats from climate-driven natural hazards facing the six Vineyard towns. These findings will be used to inform local action around sound and sustainable decision making across a range of industries including construction, agriculture, and landscaping.
Beyond Martha’s Vineyard, this initiative can serve as a model for communities motivated to do more in their own backyards to mitigate and adapt to climate change.