Climate change vulnerability refers to the extent to which a
species, habitat, or ecosystem is susceptible to harm from
climate change impacts
• What things are most vulnerable
• Why they are vulnerable
Why Assess Vulnerability?
Vulnerability assessments can help:
• Prioritize species and systems for
• Develop management strategies to
address climate change
• Efficiently allocate resources
What vulnerability assessments
• Make a conservation decision for
Key Steps for Undertaking a
1. Determine objectives and
2. Gather relevant data and
3. Assess the components of
4. Apply assessment results in
Overarching Considerations for Vulnerability
• Climate change
• Other factors
• Data needs, cost, time
Approaches for Putting the Pieces Together
• Detailed modeling efforts
– In-house or commissioned
• Vulnerability indices
– e.g., NatureServe Index
• Expert elicitation
– Supplement and/or supplant modeling
Using Vulnerability Assessment Results
Help prioritize species and systems
• Address most vulnerable? Least?
• Base on ecological/economic
Help design management strategies
• Reduce sensitivity
• Reduce exposure
• Enhance adaptive capacity
Help allocate resources efficiently
• Set research priorities?
• Consider triage?
• Are you connecting the “right”
habitats? Will target species/systems
Reduce other stressors:
• Do existing stressors increase vulnerability to
climate change? Does climate change
exacerbate other stressors?
• Resilience “of what” “to what”?
Other Adaptation Questions
What if you can’t reduce
• Do we still do what we are already
doing to try to “buy time”?
• Do you decide to “let nature take its
• Do you actively facilitate a transition
to some new state?
• Should we change our conservation