Using the Climate Change Vulnerability Index to Inform Adaptation Planning: Lessons, Innovations, and Next Steps

New tools and approaches are becoming available for wildlife conservation managers to help support climate adaptation activities, but few studies have documented how practitioners have applied these tools and perceive their utility. We surveyed the literature and users of the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI), a tool that is widely used in North America to assess species' vulnerability to climate change, to characterize 1) how the tool has been used; 2) the objectives addressed by projects using the tool; 3) novel approaches that might be useful to other users; 4) how the results contributed to climate change adaptation planning; and 5) needed improvements recognized by users of the tool. Responses from 25 CCVI users, representing state agencies and natural heritage programs, conservation organizations, and universities, combined with published reports from 20 CCVI assessments, indicated that the CCVI has been applied to large numbers of species from diverse taxonomic groups. Results from these assessments have been used to communicate about climate change vulnerability, select species to be prioritized for management, inform management decisions, identify monitoring needs, and inform land-acquisition decisions. Users of the CCVI have developed novel ways to address uncertainty in climate and species natural-history data, involve stakeholders, evaluate migratory species, address specific management questions, and combine outputs with the results of parallel spatial analyses. To address user needs, future iterations of the tool should address climate exposure in the full life cycle of migratory species; better examine species dependent on specific vegetation microhabitats; and improve treatment of the effects of climate on diseases, parasites, and natural enemies.

Towards Reef Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods: A Handbook for Caribbean Reef Managers

This handbook aims to provide reef managers with tools, information and recommendations on management of coral reef ecosystems. The handbook sections range from ecological history and biogeography, resilience as well as climate change issues to fisheries, governance and the monitoring of coral reef ecosystems.

Within each section are practical stand-alone ‘briefs’. These briefs offer concise information on particular reef-related issues, utilising some of the most recent scientific research to inform management actions. Each of the briefings is a unique grab-and-go resource. The accessible format also provides a useful resource for students, researchers, policy-makers and anyone interested in the future of Caribbean coral reefs.

NPLCC Priorities Tool


United States
47° 11' 44.4588" N, 123° 23' 54.3768" W
Tool Overview: 

The Priorities Tool is a watershed visualization and priorities decision support system for the North Pacific LCC developed by Ecotrust.

This spatially explicit, online tool is intended to assist the North Pacific LCC and other natural resource managers, individuals, and community organizations in accessing disparate data sources for understanding and visualizing a wide variety of data sets pertaining to species, threats and potential effects of climate change on freshwater and forest ecosystems throughout the North Pacific LCC geographic area.

Listening for the Rain: Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change

Listening for the Rain starts a pluricultural conversation in which some Indigenous people who live in the central United States of America discuss their observations and understandings of, as well as responses to, climate change and variability. A team of Native and non-Native researchers and media artists worked together to document these stories. Not only does Listening for the Rain illustrate some of the environmental transformations distinguishing diverse Tribal landscapes, but the video also suggests some of the proactive solutions and ideas for addressing these issues that are currently being undertaken in Indian Country.

Featuring interviews with: Paulette Blanchard (Absentee Shawnee), Berrien Moore III, Renee McPherson, Dan Cornelius (Oneida), Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca), Curtis Munoz (Kiowa), Kimberly Walden (Chitimacha), Roger Fragua (Jemez Pueblo), Ann Marie Chiscilly (Dine), Evaristo Cruz (Isleta del Sur Pueblo), Glenna Wallace (Eastern Shawnee), Maya Toralba (Kiowa/Comanche/Wichita), Wayne Kellogg (Chickasaw) and Tye Baker (Choctaw).

Minnesota Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Northwoods Climate Change Response Framework Project

Forests in northern Minnesota will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the next 100 years. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of forest ecosystems in Minnesota's Laurentian Mixed Forest Province to a range of future climates. Information on current forest conditions, observed climate trends, projected climate changes, and impacts to forest ecosystems was considered in order to draw conclusions on climate change vulnerability. Wet Forests, Forested Rich Peatlands, and Acid Peatlands were determined to be the most vulnerable to projected changes in climate, whereas Floodplain Forests, Fire-Dependent Forests, and Mesic Hardwood Forests were determined to be less vulnerable. Projected changes in climate and the associated ecosystem impacts and vulnerabilities will have important implications for economically valuable timber species, forest-dependent wildlife and plants, recreation, and long-range planning.

Considering Multiple Futures: Scenario Planning to Address Uncertainty in Natural Resource Conservation

The publication, Considering Multiple Futures: Scenario Planning to Address Uncertainty in Natural Resource Conservation, presents scenario planning as an approach to help natural resource managers accommodate the uncertainty involved with combined threats to habitats and wildlife, including climate change, habitat fragmentation, land use, and invasive species. The publication presents the core elements of scenario planning, examines how scenario planning differs from other decision-support frameworks, identifies situations in which scenario planning could be used, explores the diversity of implementation options and approaches available to managers, and provides suggestions and additional resources for managers looking to embark on their own scenario planning effort. The report also includes 12 case studies representing a range of climate change-related scenario planning approaches for natural resource and conservation issues across the United States.

Action Plan to Respond to Climate Change in Kentucky: A Strategy of Resilience

The Six Specific Goals of Kentucky's Climate Change Action Plan:

Goal 1: Conserve and restore functioning ecosystems in KentuckyGoal 2: Create or protect “key” or “concentrating” habitatsGoal 3: Implement multi-agency plans for wildlife corridors/connectivity in KentuckyGoal 4: Monitor fish, wildlife, and ecosystem responses to climate changeGoal 5: Evaluate the effectiveness of actions implemented as a result of Kentucky’s Climate Change chapter, and adaptively manage populations and habitats based on monitoring resultsGoal 6: Continue efforts to educate the public about wildlife conservation and continue efforts to stay optimally informed of current climate change predictions and observed climate change.

A Practical Approach to Implementation of Ecosystem-Based Management: A Case Study Using the Gulf of Maine Marine Ecosystem

The application of ecosystem-based management (EBM) in marine environments has been widely supported by scientists, managers, and policy makers, yet implementation of this approach is difficult for various scientific, political, and social reasons. A key, but often overlooked, challenge is how to account for multiple and varied human activities and ecosystem services and incorporate ecosystem-level thinking into EBM planning. We developed methods to systematically identify the natural and human components of a specific ecosystem and to qualitatively evaluate the strength of their interactions. Using the Gulf of Maine marine ecosystem as a case study, we show how these methods may be applied, in order to identify and prioritize the most important components to be included in an EBM plan – particularly the human activities that are the strongest drivers of ecosystem change and the ecosystem services most threatened by cumulative and indirect effects of these activities.

Adaptation to Climate Change In Forest Management

Adaptation in forestry is sustainable forest management that includes a climate change focus. Climate change over the next 100 years is expected to have significant impacts on forest ecosystems. The forestry community needs to evaluate the long-term effects of climate change on forests and determine what the community might do now and in the future to respond to this threat. Management can influence the timing and direction of forest adaptation at selected locations, but in many situations society will have to adjust to however forests adapt. Adapting to climate change in the face of the uncertain timing of impacts means we must have a suite of readily available options. A high priority will be coping with and adapting to forest disturbance while maintaining the genetic diversity and resilience of forest ecosystems. A framework for facilitating adaptation in forestry is discussed and a review of adaptive actions presented.

Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Adaptation

Presentation from the International Workshop on Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change: From Practice to Policy on May 11-12, New Delhi by Dr. Pushpam Kumar of the Institute of Economic Growth.

This presentation highlights why biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of ecosystems services affects and will continue to affect human well-being. The author surmises by stating that ecosystems management and biodiversity conservation have strong bearing on the success of adaptation strategies.