Demonstration of the Habitat Climate Change Vulnerability Index (HCCVI) by Pat Comer of NatureServe
Demonstration of the Habitat Climate Change Vulnerability Index (HCCVI) by Pat Comer of NatureServe (September 25, 2012).
The earth’s rapidly changing climate requires substantial adjustments to existing strategies for conserving natural systems. Managers need a better understanding of factors that contribute to the vulnerability of ecosystems and plant communities in order to formulate new adaptation strategies. The Climate Change Vulnerability Index for Ecosystems and Habitats (HCCVI) documents series of indicators of vulnerability to climate change. Indicators are organized within categories of indirect effects, direct effects, and adaptive capacity. A series of 3-5 indicators for each of these, each requiring a separate type of analysis, produces sub-scores that are then used to generate an overall score or rating of relative vulnerability for the community type. Indirect effects include past, current, and anticipated future changes to ecosystem integrity (e.g. the degree of landscape fragmentation in the landscapes supporting a given habitat type). Direct effects can be addressed through several indicators. For example, analysis of climate forecasts can provide an indication of the relative intensity of climate-induced stress change for temperature and precipitation variables. Adaptive capacity includes attributes of a community that make it inherently more or less resilient to climate change (e.g. the relative breadth of biophysical variability that characterizes its natural distribution). NatureServe recently piloted the HCCVI with major ecosystem types in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, and applied results in a workshop setting with regional specialists to help identify appropriate strategies for climate change adaptation.
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