This report summarizes the results of a two-day adaptation planning workshop for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests as part of their forest plan revision process. The workshop focused on identifying adaptation options for eight key resource areas, including forested vegetation, non-forested vegetation, wildlife, hydrology, fisheries, recreation, cultural/heritage values, and ecosystem services. The report includes a general overview of the workshop methodology and provides a suite of possible adaptation strategies and actions for each key resource area. Adaptation actions were linked with the climate-related vulnerabilities they help to ameliorate as well as the direct/indirect effects they may have on other resource areas.
This report summarizes the results of a vulnerability assessment for 28 focal resources, including 8 ecosystems and 20 species, identified as important by Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests as part of their forest plan revision process. The report includes a general summary of past and projected climate trends for the region; downscaled climate data and trends; vulnerability assessment methods; and vulnerability assessment findings for 28 ecosystems and species.
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.
Climate change will have far-reaching impacts on biodiversity, including increasing extinction rates. Current approaches to quantifying such impacts focus on measuring exposure to climatic change and largely ignore the biological differences between species that may significantly increase or reduce their vulnerability. To address this, we present a framework for assessing three dimensions of climate change vulnerability, namely sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity; this draws on species’ biological traits and their modeled exposure to projected climatic changes. In the largest such assessment to date, we applied this approach to each of the world’s birds, amphibians and corals (16,857 species). The resulting assessments identify the species with greatest relative vulnerability to climate change and the geographic areas in which they are concentrated, including the Amazon basin for amphibians and birds, and the central Indo-west Pacific (Coral Triangle) for corals. We found that high concentration areas for species with traits conferring highest sensitivity and lowest adaptive capacity differ from those of highly exposed species, and we identify areas where exposure-based assessments alone may over or under-estimate climate change impacts. We found that 608–851 bird (6–9%), 670–933 amphibian (11–15%), and 47–73 coral species (6–9%) are both highly climate change vulnerable and already threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List. The remaining highly climate change vulnerable species represent new priorities for conservation. Fewer species are highly climate change vulnerable under lower IPCC SRES emissions scenarios, indicating that reducing greenhouse emissions will reduce climate change driven extinctions. Our study answers the growing call for a more biologically and ecologically inclusive approach to assessing climate change vulnerability. By facilitating independent assessment of the three dimensions of climate change vulnerability, our approach can be used to devise species and area-specific conservation interventions and indices. The priorities we identify will strengthen global strategies to mitigate climate change impacts.
In 2010, the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) received funding from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Coastal Management Program to assess vulnerability of 180 animal and plant species in the coastal zone using the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) developed by NatureServe. MNFI assessed a total of 198 species including 131 animal species and 67 plant species. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Division used State Wildlife Grants and Pittman-Robertson funds to assess vulnerability of 281 animal species using the same methods. Twelve animal species were assessed by both MNFI and the Michigan DNR. All resident terrestrial game species and all Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) (with enough life history data) were assessed. Vulnerable species are those expected to experience reductions in range extent or abundance by 2050 due to climate change.
The CCVI predicts the strength and direction of the influence of a changing climate. Management action (or inaction) can offset or reinforce the climate influence. The CCVI is a useful first step in climate adaptation, but it is only one tool to use to develop climate adaptive management plans for species or habitats. Initial suggestions of management actions are provided to help managers begin thinking about how these adaptive plans can be formulated. However, adaptation (e.g., climate-smart management) will need to be context specific; it will depend on existing management goals, priorities, funds, and local site conditions.
Fish, wildlife, and plants provide jobs, food, clean water, storm protection, health benefits and many other important ecosystem services that support people, communities and economies across the nation every day. The observed changes in the climate are already impacting these valuable resources and systems. These impacts are expected to increase with continued changes in the planet’s climate system. Action is needed now to help safeguard these natural resources and the communities and economies that depend on them.
Faced with a future climate that will be unlike that of the recent past, the nation has the opportunity to act now to reduce the impacts of climate change on its valuable natural resources and resource-dependent communities and businesses. Preparing for and addressing these changes in the near term can help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of actions to reduce negative impacts and take advantage of potential benefits from a changing climate (climate adaptation). In 2009, Congress recognized the need for a national government-wide climate adaptation strategy for fish, wildlife, plants, and ecosystems, asking the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to develop such a strategy. CEQ and DOI responded by assembling an unprecedented partnership of federal, state, and tribal fish and wildlife conservation agencies to draft the document. More than 90 diverse technical, scientific, and management experts from across the country participated in drafting the technical content of the document.
The result is The National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy (hereafter Strategy). The Strategy is the first joint effort of three levels of government (federal, state, and tribal) that have primary authority and responsibility for the living resources of the United States to identify what must be done to help these resources become more resilient, adapt to, and survive a warming climate. It is designed to inspire and enable natural resource managers, legislators and other decision makers to take effective steps towards climate change adaptation over the next five to ten years. Federal, state, and tribal governments and conservation partners are encouraged to read the Strategy in its entirety to identify intersections between the document and their mission areas and activities.
The Strategy is guided by nine principles. These principles include collaborating across all levels of government, working with non-government entities such as private landowners and other sectors like agriculture and energy, and engaging the public. It is also important to use the best available science—and to identify where science and management capabilities must be improved or enhanced. When adaptation steps are taken, it is crucial to carefully monitor actual outcomes in order to adjust future actions to make them more effective, an iterative process called adaptive management. We must also link efforts within the U.S. with efforts internationally to build resilience and adaptation for species that migrate and depend on areas beyond U.S. borders. Finally, given the size and urgency of the challenge, we must begin acting now.