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Open AccessArticle

Opportunities and Challenges for Hurricane Resilience on Agricultural and Forest Land in the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean

1
USDA Forest Service, Southeast Climate Hub, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA
2
USDA Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Río Piedras, PR 00926-1119, USA
3
IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1364; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041364 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 December 2019 / Revised: 6 February 2020 / Accepted: 11 February 2020 / Published: 13 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implications of Climate Change for Ecosystems and Society)
Three storms in the 2017 hurricane season caused $265 billion in damages in the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean, including billions in losses in the agriculture and forestry sector. Climate change projections indicate that such disastrous hurricane seasons are becoming more normal. Working land management sectors need to prepare for this future. However, few studies evaluate hurricane resilience strategies, or challenges faced by land managers surrounding hurricane events. Boundary organizations are critical to hurricane preparedness and recovery, advising land managers before hurricanes, and often supporting recovery efforts. Here, we rely on public advisors’ experiences to understand how land managers pursue hurricane resilience. Using focus groups and an online survey of three agencies in the Southeast U.S. and U.S. Caribbean (n = 607), we identify challenges faced by land managers before and after hurricanes, and the strategies they implement to minimize damage. We learn that land managers are faced with many diverse and unique challenges related to hurricanes, but that long-term planning for hurricane events is uncommon compared to shorter-term preparedness and recovery activities. Efforts towards hurricane resilience should incorporate local needs, align with other land management goals, and increase overall resilience to climate change and related stressors. The results of this research can guide state/territorial and national-level prioritizations regarding hurricane resilience, as well as identify research needs on hurricane resilience strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: hurricanes; tropical storms; boundary organizations; agriculture; forestry; climate change adaptation hurricanes; tropical storms; boundary organizations; agriculture; forestry; climate change adaptation
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Wiener, S.S.; Álvarez-Berríos, N.L.; Lindsey, A.B. Opportunities and Challenges for Hurricane Resilience on Agricultural and Forest Land in the U.S. Southeast and Caribbean. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1364.

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