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.

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.…

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…

How are forests vulnerable to climate change? Forests and ecosystems in the Mid-Atlantic region will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the next 100 years. Understanding the potential impacts is an important first step to sustaining healthy forests…

Forests of the Midwest and Northeast significantly define the character, culture, and economy of this large region but face an uncertain future as the climate continues to change. How are forests vulnerable to climate change? Forests vary widely across the region, and…

How are forests vulnerable to climate change? The urban forest of the Chicago Wilderness region, a 7-million-acre area covering portions of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, will face direct and indirect impacts from a changing climate over the 21st century.…

How are forests vulnerable to climate change? Forests and ecosystems in the New England region will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the next 100 years. Understanding the potential impacts is an important first step to sustaining healthy forests in…

How are forests vulnerable to climate change? Forests and ecosystems in the Central Appalachians region will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the next 100 years. Understanding the potential impacts is an important first step to sustaining healthy…

How are forests vulnerable to climate change? Forests and ecosystems in the Central Hardwoods region will be affected directly and indirectly by a changing climate over the next 100 years. Understanding the potential impacts is an important first step to sustaining healthy…