Consensus Report

Understanding the Long-Term Evolution of the Coupled Natural-Human Coastal System: The Future of the U.S. Gulf Coast (2018)

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

The U.S. Gulf of Mexico coastline provides a valuable setting to study deeply connected natural and human interactions. This is in large part because of the historical, and continuing, concentration of coastal development, human population, and infrastructure within a region that is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and sea level rise. To promote the resilience and maintain the habitability of the coast into the future, we need a better understanding of the physical, ecological, and human aspects of this complex coupled system and how these components interact with each other under rapidly changing conditions. Effective sharing of this understanding in support of decision-making and policies is also needed.

  A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identifies three critical areas of research needed to improve understanding of the interactions and feedbacks among the U.S. Gulf Coast coupled natural-human system. The report also identifies barriers to and opportunities for effective communication among scientists and stakeholders.