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Resources for Conducting a Vulnerability Assessment

Assessment of vulnerability to climate change is the analysis of the extent to which a species, habitat, or ecosystem is susceptible to harm from climate change impacts. Vulnerability assessment is an integral component of the climate adaptation planning process (read more in the Introduction to the Vulnerability Assessment Course by the USFWS).

There are many types of Vulnerability Assessments; they can be qualitative or quantitative, and are conducted at the level of species, habitat, and ecosystem and at various scales. Assessment of vulnerability involves the analysis of three principal components: sensitivity, exposure, and adaptive capacity. Effective Vulnerability Assessments are designed for an intended audience and tailored to a specific decision-making process, and so no two are alike.

Software tools:
Vulnerability Assessment Tools, Sea-level Rise Tools, and EBM Network's Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Tools, a summary and description of a wide range of tools used in planning for climate change.

Case Studies:
Vulnerability Assessment Case studies
Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Natural Resources Management: Toolbox of Methods with Case Studies

Start Here: General Guidance

Resource Type Originator Title Description
Guidance document National Wildlife Federation Scanning the Conservation Horizon - A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Guidance for developing and conducting vulnerability assessments in support of conservation and management missions and as a tool in the development of climate change adaptation strategies.
Online course US Fish and Wildlife Service Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment An online course in the essential elements in the design of climate adaptation plans. It elaborates on the Scanning the Conservation Horizon Guide.

How-to and Conceptual Materials

Resource Type Originator Title Description
Journal article US EPA National Center for Environmental Assessment A Framework for Categorizing the Relative Vulnerability of Threatened and Endangered Species to Climate Change (External Review Draft) An evaluative framework that may be used to categorize the relative vulnerability of species to climate change.
Journal article Williams, et. al. Towards an integrated framework for assessing the vulnerability of species to climate change An integrated framework to assess vulnerability and prioritize research and management action.
Journal article F├╝ssel, Klien Climate change vulnerability assessments: an evolution of conceptual thinking Review of the conceptual ideas underpinning assessments of vulnerability to climate change, a conceptual framework that defines key concepts of the assessment and their analytical relationships.
Journal article Klausmeyer, et. al. Landscape-scale indicators of biodiversity's vulnerability to climate change A framework to assess the vulnerability of species across a large geographic area based on attributes of the landscape.
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Last Updated: 

5/2014