Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments


Target Audience:

Conservation practitioners from federal and state fish and wildlife agencies and other conservation managers who work on natural resource issues and need to determine which resources are most vulnerable when setting priorities for conservation action.

Summary and Objectives:

This course is based on the January 2011 publication Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. The guidance document is a product of an expert workgroup on climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
vulnerability assessment convened by the National Wildlife Federation in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This course is designed to guide conservation and resource management practitioners through two essential elements in the design of climate adaptation plans. Specifically, it will provide guidance on identifying which species or systems are likely to be most strongly affected by projected changes and an understanding of why these resources are likely to be vulnerable, including the interaction between climate shifts and existing stressors.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how to design and interpret natural-resource-related climate management actions to help build resiliency and adaption.
  • Understand vulnerability assessment in the broader context of adaptation planning and other relevant contexts.
  • Evaluate the different factors influencing vulnerability and how they can affect the outcome of vulnerability assessments.
  • Identify and critique/evaluate the approaches for conducting a vulnerability assessment and choose among the options.
  • Design a vulnerability assessment applicable to their needs.
  • Evaluate and interpret the results of vulnerability assessments and recognize next steps.
  • Communicate the purposes, methods, and results of vulnerability assessments to others.
  • Develop elements of a vulnerability assessment workplan/statement of work, including identifying the level of effort.

Special Requirements:

Participants should have a basic knowledge of the principles of conservation biology.

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