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Central Hardwoods Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework Project

Leslie Brandt, Maria Janowiak, Patricia Leopold, Leslie Brandt, Hong He, Louis Iverson, Frank R. Thompson, Patricia Butler, Stephen Handler, Maria Janowiak, P. Danielle Shannon, Chris Swanston, Matthew Albrecht, Richard Blume-Weaver, Paul Deizman, John DePuy, William D. Dijak, Gary Dinkel, Songlin Fei, and
Created: 3/03/2014 - Updated: 8/12/2019


The forests in the Central Hardwoods Region will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the next 100 years. This assessment evaluates the vulnerability of terrestrial ecosystems in the Central Hardwoods Region of Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri 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 assess vulnerability to climate change. Mesic upland forests were determined to be the most vulnerable to projected changes in climate, whereas many systems adapted to fire and drought, such as open woodlands, savannas, and glades, were perceived as 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.

Published On

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Regional / Subnational
Sector Addressed: 
Conservation / Restoration
Land Use Planning
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Flow patterns
Water supply
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Habitat/Biome Type: 
Climate Type: 

Related Resources

Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework

Photo attributed to Fritz Geller-Grimm. Incorporated here under  the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Adaptation Phase: 
Sector Addressed: 

The Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework covers 42 million acres of southern Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana within Ecological Province 223 (Central Interior Broadleaf Forest) of the National Hierarchical Framework of Ecological Units.