Drowning the national heritage: climate change and U.S. coastal biodiversity
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Ecosystems continually evolve in response to natural climatic changes, but the rate of climate change in the century ahead, coupled with the existing pattern of human settlement and stresses on species and ecosystems, could overwhelm ecosystems' capacity to adapt, thus impoverishing the world's biological wealth. Biodiversity - the world's genes, species and ecosystems - could be an invaluable resource in humanity's efforts to adapt to climate change, but it may also become one of the first victims of that change. This report considers the coastal species, habitats, ecological processes, and the economic indicators of coastal biodiversity's status, and evaluates the impact of global warming on these ecosystems. It also reports on public policy options and the current status of U.S. policy.