Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability assessments are used to ascertain the susceptibility of a natural or human system to sustaining damage (or benefiting) from climate change. Vulnerability is a function of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Vulnerability assessments differ from impact assessments in that they more fully consider adaptive management or policy responses that may lessen negative impacts (or enhance positive impacts) of climate change. Where vulnerability assessments are used to guide management or conservation actions, they are often most informative when they are "place-based" and designed to address a particular resource or system of interest. However, in the climate change literature, there are multiple definitions of vulnerability and there is no single universal assessment framework. The assessments included below focus on various exposure units, are applied at different spatial scales, and are relevant to different locations.

Forests may look very different in the future as a result of climate change. Many of the northern tree species that provide economic and cultural benefits are adapted to cold climates and will be under greater stress as the climate warms and conditions become less favorable.…

The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) have partnered with the regional partners to develop a series of brochures designed to help private landowners consider climate change in the context of their woods. The brochures…

Decision-makers need better methods for identifying critical ecosystem vulnerabilities to changing climate and fire regimes. Climate-wildfire-vegetation interactions are complex and hinder classification and projection necessary for development of management strategies. The…

As climate change continues to influence ecosystems around the world, wildlife species will be under increasing pressure to adapt. Wildlife managers face the growing challenge of helping wildlife populations and ecosystems respond to climate change. Partners in the Great Lakes…

Traditional and indigenous knowledge and perspectives have not often been recognized in climate adaptation planning efforts focused on natural resources. The Northern Forests Climate Hub is collaborating with regional tribal partners to address this gap, and collaborating to…

The Environmental Law & Policy Center, in concert with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, commissioned the following scientists and experts to produce this report to educate policymakers and the public about the significant changes affecting the Great Lakes, and the…

Specialty crops are an important component of the Midwest region’s rural economy with an estimated value of $1.8 billion (estimate from 2012). They are generally more sensitive to climatic stressors and require more comprehensive management compared to traditional row crops.…

Increased climate variability, including more frequent and intense drought, is projected for the  southwestern region of the United States. Increased temperatures and reduced precipitation lower soil water availability resulting in decreased plant productivity and altering…

In 2015, the Southwest and California Climate Hubs published a report describing the potential vulnerability of crops, forests and animal agriculture to climate-driven environmental changes. The exposure of specific sectors of the agricultural and forestry industries varies…