Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for Focal Resources of the Sierra Nevada

The region of study: the Sierra Nevada region of California,
from foothills to crests, including ten national forests and two national
parks (see this map of the study region).

About the Project

Climate change is already affecting Sierra Nevada ecosystems and communities. Changes are resulting in movement of species and modification of human activities, and are expected to continue.

This project, funded by the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative, helps guide and support a manager or planner in strategically integrating the challenges of climate change into their management of Sierra Nevada resources and thereby optimize opportunities for future success.

Project partners EcoAdapt, Geos Institute, Conservation Biology Institute, TACCIMO, and the U.S. Forest Service analyzed geographic data, assembled the best available climate change science information, and gathered expert input to assess vulnerabilities of 8 Sierra ecosystems, 15 species, and 4 ecosystem services. These evaluations are intended to be living documents that can be revised and expanded upon as new information becomes available.

The Process

The project integrated analysis and expert knowledge in a process comprised of three principal components:

(1) Vulnerability Assessment Workshop focused on assessing the vulnerabilities of focal resources (ecosystems, species, and ecosystem services) to climate change.

(2) Spatial Data Analysis was conducted to produce maps and datasets expressing projected changes in climate, hydrology, and fire patterns for the Sierra Nevada.

(3) Adaptation Planning Workshops focused on identifying management and conservation goals for focal resources, developing adaptation strategies and actions to reduce vulnerabilities of the resources, and evaluating feasibility of implementing each strategy.

The Pacific fisher, one of the species evaluated as part of the climate change vulnerability assessment.

Results and Uses

The results of this intensive process are presented here. They constitute the best available and most relevant climate change science information, and report vulnerability information and adaptation strategies for the focal resources addressed by the project. Local resource managers, stakeholders and other users, and regional and topical experts have collaborated throughout this project to generate and refine this information. The methodologies and resulting products provide information and tools for forest planning and management (e.g., NEPA analyses, Forest Plan revisions, USFS Climate Change Performance Scorecard), as well as other natural resource management and conservation efforts at local, regional, and state levels.

We want your feedback! Please fill out this survey and tell us how you will use (or have used) these products and provide suggestions for future iterations and next steps.

To see the original project proposal and other materials, see the project page on the Climate Commons. For assistance with any of these materials, please contact Jessi Kershner at EcoAdapt.


Overview and Introduction
Vulnerability Assessment Report - contains vulnerability assessment methodology and the vulnerability syntheses for focal resources
Adaptation Strategies Report - contains the adaptation strategies and actions for focal resources

Maps and Data

Sierra Nevada Climate, Hydrology, and Fire Spatial Data and Maps, shared on Data Basin

Vulnerability Assessment Syntheses & Briefings

Table of Vulnerability Assessment Products - a quick way to see what is available for the focal resources and access the individual syntheses and briefings.

Contributors to this article
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