Descendants United for Nature, Adaptation, and Sustainability
In September 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico causing considerable impacts to both natural and human communities. For this small Caribbean island, the ramifications of global climate change are visceral and imminent — however, Puerto Rico’s is not a story of desperation but of resilience.
In collaboration with Dr. Isabel Rivera-Collazo, Climate Science Alliance (CSA), Para la Naturaleza (PLN), Vida Marina, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (CCCIA), the DUNAS project was convened to restore coastal dunes in northern Puerto Rico that were severely degraded by Hurricane Maria. Although sand dunes are vulnerable to damage, they are critical for protecting ecological environments, cultural artifacts, and human communities.
By weaving together cultural, ecological, and community values we lay the groundwork for a resilient future.
DUNAS provides a unique community-based model for how to bridge social and environmental resilience through climate adaptation strategies and solutions.
Restoring Natural Ecosystems
In collaboration with Vida Marina, we will restore damaged sand dunes that are critical for protecting coastal habitats and communities against future storm surge and rising seas.
Protecting Cultural Heritage
The dunes safeguard numerous areas of cultural significance. Through this restoration, we buy time for archaeologists like Dr. Isabel Rivera-Collazo to preserve and document historical stories critical to community identity.
Supporting Resilient Communities
In partnership with Para La Naturaleza, we will collaborate with local communities, citizen scientists, and youth to assist in coastal restoration and climate education.
This project was made possible through a 2018 Climate Adaptation Fund grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) entitled, “Puerto Rico se Levanta: Learning from extreme events to build and sustain a resilient future". Support to establish the Climate Adaptation Fund was provided by a grant to the WCS from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.