What is CRAVe?

CRAVe stands for Climate Registry for the Assessment of Vulnerability.

It includes hundreds of climate vulnerability assessments (VAs) pertaining to species and ecosystems, built environments and infrastructure, cultural resources, and socioeconomic systems. CRAVe was jointly managed by the United States Geological Survey's National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and EcoAdapt. All CRAVe VAs can now be found on CAKE.

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Who Built CRAVe?

CRAVe was initiated by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center (NCCWSC) as part of the work of the Interagency Land Management Adaptation Group (ILMAG); member agencies from the USGCRP Adaptation Science Work Group, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), and several NGO’s have also contributed.

A steering group was convened in 2013 to develop plans for a searchable, public registry on climate change VAs. The goal was to make information about ongoing and completed VAs more readily accessible and available, so that resources devoted to such assessments can be most efficiently used. The registry includes VA descriptions of project undertaken by federal and non-federal partners. Partnering Federal agencies have agreed to collect these data and keep them current for approximately five years as an initial term for the project.

CRAVe was jointly managed by USGS/NCCWSC and EcoAdapt. USGS hosts a federal site, and its content is provided via web services and is integrated into the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE). Plans call for CRAVe to be linked to or be otherwise integrated into the Climate Resilience Toolkit and the Global Change Information System.

Users of CRAVe enter information on a suite of basic information about a vulnerability assessment, including project location and scale, assessment target or endpoint, contact information, managing agency and partner agencies, vulnerability assessment components (exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity), type of climate, sea-level, or hydrological change projections (hazards), methods for determining impact of hazards, and the purpose of the VA. Users of the registry may also upload abstracts that may provide additional details on their projects, and links to websites and other documents. The assessments housed in CRAVe include studies pertaining to species and ecosystems, built environments and infrastructure, cultural resources, and socioeconomic systems. Users can access it to conduct searches across all vulnerability assessments to find necessary information for decision making.

Vulnerability Assessments

Vulnerability assessments can provide insights on resources that are most likely to be affected by climate change and why those resources are most vulnerable. Consequently, they are an important tool for informing climate change adaptation planning. Although there are a large number of vulnerability studies that are currently being conducted, there is no available method to identify VAs conducted in specific regions or on specific resources. Thus, it is highly likely that new assessments are being launched without knowledge of relevant ongoing or completed assessments. It is also likely that the data and knowledge gathered by completed assessments are not being used by managers outside the entity conducting the assessment. Addressing this lack of coordination is necessary for reducing costs and increasing the value of existing assessment investments.

Although there are different definitions of vulnerability assessment, we adopted the definition provided by IPCC in 2007 that pertains to climate change and suggests an understanding of vulnerability of a particular target, asset, or resource can be can be achieved through the assessment of exposure (magnitude and rate of climate change a resource is likely to experience), sensitivity (characteristics of a particular resource that mediate tolerance to climate change), and adaptive capacity (the inherent ability of the resource to moderate the impacts of climate change). This is also the most commonly used definition by the natural resources community.

We recognize, however, that there are other frameworks that may be used by different agencies and organizations for understanding climate change impacts. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) often focuses on risk assessment, which is defined as the chance or potential of harmful effects occurring as a result of climate change (or other stressor). Risk, however, is closely related to vulnerability in that resources possessing vulnerabilities have increased potential for harm from a threat, such as climate change. Consequently, risk assessments are relevant and are welcomed entries in CRAVe, but some of the language used in the tool may be more specific to the vulnerability assessment framework we have adopted.

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