Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments, Lessons Learned from Practical Experience: Practitioner’s Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

Betsy Neely, Anne Wallach Thomas
Created: 12/16/2013 -


State and federal natural resource management agencies, having been directed to integrate climate change into their plans and activities, are calling upon academic institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations to help them design and carry out climate vulnerability assessments. Such assessments have proliferated, and the science and methods used to generate them are evolving rapidly. In order to effectively design and implement these vulnerability assessments, conservationists need guidance, practical and effective methods and tools. They need to know more about whatpioneers in the field of climate adaptation have learned in practice, so that others might build on their successes and learn from their missteps.

The Nature Conservancyʼs Global Climate Change Team, Southwest Climate Change Initiative and Colorado chapter organized a two-day workshop in April 2010 for internal and external climate adaptation experts engaged in assessing climate change vulnerability. Participants shared their methods, lessons learned and recommendations for climate change vulnerability assessments at regional, state and landscape scales. This document is a rapid summary of the methods and tools discussed at the workshop and is intended to provide a foundation for others embarking on development of adaptation planning and implementation. The following is a summary of practical recommendations provided in this report.

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The Nature Conservancy's New Mexico Conservation Science Program works with public and private agencies and institutions on ecological management, conservation planning, and scientific assessments to further its mission to “preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.”


Adaptation Phase
Sharing Lessons
Community / Local
Regional / Subnational
Sector Addressed
Conservation / Restoration
Education / Outreach
Land Use Planning
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Host adaptation training or planning workshop
Create stakeholder engagement processes to develop and implement adaptation strategies

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