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

Patrick McCarthy, Betsy Neely and Anne Wallach Thomas

climate change vulnerability assessment colorado conservation science
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 what pioneers 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 report is a summary of practical recommendations. A complete list of all the recommendations is in the text and Appendix.

For more information, contact Betsy Neely.