The National Capital Region of the National Park Service includes some of the richest features of America’s cultural and natural history. However, as global temperatures rise and precipitation patterns become more extreme, these national treasures are increasingly vulnerable. To understand how climate change will impact the National Capital Region, the National Park Service partnered with experts at NatureServe to conduct climate change vulnerability assessments.
As components of this project, we have:
- Completed a generalized landscape vulnerability assessment for terrestrial ecosystems in the parks
- Evaluated the specific climate change vulnerability of three ecological systems
- Identified connectivity priority areas, where actions to maintain or enhance natural connections can support adaptation
Next steps include:
- Refining measures of ecological integrity with field data from the parks
- Working with park staff to develop adaptation strategies
Together, this work can help ensure that the parks of the National Capital Region retain healthy ecological communities into the future.
To Learn More
We have assembled several resources to communicate the outcomes of this work to park staff and other interested parties.
The NPS National Capital Region Enduring Features Map Gallery on Data Basin hosts resource briefs summarizing our findings and interactive maps of our results.
A recorded webinar, providing an overview of the project, can be viewed here.
Landscape Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment
Additional information on the Landscape Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment can be viewed in this recorded webinar:
Habitat Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment
Details on the Habitat Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for three forest types can be viewed in the recorded webinar below. These forests include Appalachian (Hemlock) Northern Hardwood Forest, Northeastern Interior Dry-Mesic Forest, and Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forest.
Connectivity Priority Areas
Detail on the process for identifying Connectivity Priority Areas for the parks can be found in this recorded webinar.