Climate Adaptation: The Institute works to adopt policies that respond to climate change through adaptation as well as mitigation or reduction of greenhouse gases. Too often policies responding to climate change focus solely on mitigation without addressing the fact that climate change is already impacting natural systems and built infrastructure, both grey and green. We have been actively involved in developing policies such as Portland’s Climate Action Plan and Climate Preparation Strategies that address existing and future negative impacts on human and ecological systems. One objective of our work to increase urban forest canopy for example is to reduce impacts on humans and natural systems from urban heat island and to contribute to urban biodiversity through increase in tree coverage throughout the city and region.
Natural and Built Green Infrastructure: The Institute promotes protection of natural green infrastructure (natural areas) and built green infrastructure (ecoroofs and bioswales) as innovative ways to address projected increases in winter urban stormwater as a result of climate change. Read more >
Regional Habitat Connectivity and Ecosystem Resilience: UGI is helping to lead a regional collaborative working on biodiversity connectivity corridors. This effort is developing a strategic plan which will refine regional corridor maps and define best management practices for human infrastructure habitat crossings. Read more >
Our work on urban forestry and native oak-prairie habitat conservation also relates directly to climate change adaptation. The Portland metro region has among the most intense summer heat island effects and improving urban forest canopy cover is a crucial adaptation strategy. Native oak-prairie habitats are drought- and fire-resilient ecosystems, with a palette of plant species that may be important to adapting to a warmer climate.