Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment
Climate, sea level rise, and urbanization are undergoing unprecedented levels of combined change and are expected to have large effects on natural resources — particularly along the Gulf of Mexico coastline (Gulf Coast). Management decisions to address these effects (i.e., adaptation) require an understanding of the relative vulnerability of various resources to these stressors.
To meet this need, the four Landscape Conservation Cooperatives along the Gulf partnered with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to conduct this Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment (GCVA). Vulnerability in this context incorporates the aspects of exposure and sensitivity to threats, coupled with the adaptive capacity to mitigate those threats. Potential impact and adaptive capacity reflect natural history features of target species and ecosystems. The GCVA used an expert opinion approach to qualitatively assess the vulnerability of four ecosystems: mangrove, oyster reef, tidal emergent marsh, and barrier islands, and a suite of wildlife species that depend on them. More than 50 individuals participated in the completion of the GCVA, facilitated via Ecosystem and Species Expert Teams.