Changing Climate, Changing Wildlife: A Vulnerability Assessment of 400 Species of Greatest Conservation Need and Game Species in Michigan
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.