Following through on recommendations from a 2008 climate change summit, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) worked with partners to conduct limited vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning for a subset of species. Those efforts provided the foundational science-based information for the revised State Wildlife Action Plan (2010).
The revised SWAP climate change chapter, titled “Florida Adapting to Climate Change,” is meant to facilitate further incorporation of climate change research and adaptation planning into the knowledge base of scientists and managers throughout Florida and to better address the impacts of climate change on wildlife. As part of this effort, the agency worked with partners to explore two complementary approaches to assess species vulnerability. The first approach was a vulnerability index that generated relative vulnerability ranks across species and helped elucidate underlying factors contributing to vulnerability. In the second approach, spatially explicit vulnerability analyses were used to simulate a range of likely responses to sea level rise, public policy options, and financial conditions. These approaches differed in the degree to which they incorporated both human and species-level responses, as well as in the type and scale of the outputs that were produced. Outputs from both approaches were brought into a workshop-based process involving managers and biologists, and used to identify potential adaptation strategies for focal species. The FWC intends to build upon the groundwork laid by this pilot study by exploring ways to more broadly apply vulnerability assessments and determining how these results could be used to inform agency decisions such as species management, land acquisition, policy and regulation, and research and monitoring efforts.