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Climate change presents serious challenges to the agencies that manage the federal public lands. These changes require new management strategies that may be difficult to design and implement because of internal agency resistance to altering traditional ways of doing business. In addition, there is likely to be a lack of fit between some of the laws from which the agencies derive their management authority and the problems posed by climate change, which differ from those Congress envisioned when it adopted those laws and which undermine some of the key assumptions underpinning those laws. This chapter describes the manner in which climate change will affect public lands and resources. It analyzes the statutory authority of the federal land management agencies to adapt to climate change, highlighting the obstacles and opportunities these laws present to adaptation efforts. The chapter then evaluates ongoing and planned agency adaptation programs. It concludes with recommendations for administrative and statutory changes to enhance the ability of resource managers to promote resilience that allows federal lands and resources to withstand climate change shocks.

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GWU Legal Studies Research Paper

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