Maryland Greenprints

By Kirsten Feifel

Adapting to climate change requires innovative tools and new perspectives on existing policies; a lot of groups are working to update their conservation strategies and priorities in order to reduce a system’s vulnerability to climate change. One of our interviewees was a representative from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) who described how they are updating their Greenprints mapping tool ( to include the effects of climate change.

Maryland uses Greenprints to overlay different types of information (i.e. land use/type, zoning, etc.) in GIS to help guide future land acquisition decisions and strategies. DNR is developing new criteria to evaluate and target lands suitable for on-the-ground climate change adaptation. In 2009, DNR hosted a workshop that brought together experts in coastal land conservation to identify data sources supportive of landscape resilience and adaptation. They are in the process of refining workshop recommendations to establish systematic criteria to highlight lands that offer long-term adaptation to climate change and lands that will be acutely vulnerable to climate change.

The full case study for the Maryland Greenprints effort will be available on the CAKE website – check it out when CAKE launches in July! Their ideas and techniques could be transferred to a lot of regions interested in adapting to climate change.