- Director of Species Science
Confronting Climate Change
The NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index
Climate change is affecting numerous plant and animal species right now. But how do you determine which species are most vulnerable, which ones need more focused attention sooner rather than later?
The NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index can help identify plant and animal species that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Using the Index, you apply readily available information about a species natural history, distribution and landscape circumstances to predict whether it will likely suffer a range contraction, population reductions, or both during the coming years. You can use the Index as part of a variety of analyses, including assessing the relative risk of species listed in State Wildlife Action Plans or part of any assessment of the vulnerability of species to climate change.
Update: Version 2.1 now available!
Every day, we learn more about our climate, the changes it is undergoing, and the impacts of those changes on biodiversity. NatureServe actively incorporates that new knowledge into our databases, tools, and services. Released in April 2011, version 2.1 of the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index incorporates a new tool for updating previous assessments.
- Download the Guidelines for Using the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index v2.1. This document outlines the rationale for the Index, describes how it works, provides step-by-step instructions for applying the criteria used, and lists ways you can apply the results in strategies for adaptation planning.
- Download the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index tool (version 2.1; 6MB). The Index itself is an Excel 2007 workbook that allows you to apply it to individual plant and animal species and store the results. You should consult the Guidelines for instructions on proper use of the Index, and please contact NatureServe for additional instruction before embarking on projects that make extensive use of the tool, to ensure proper interpretation and application.
Download Climate Data in GIS format for use with the Guidelines for Using the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index v2.0. All data from the Climate Wizard development team.
- Historical Precipitation Variation (inches)
- Historical Precipitation Variation (mm)
- Historical Temperature Variation (F)
- Historical Temperature Variation (C)
- Predicted Hamon AET:PET Moisture Metric 2040-2069 — Annual
- Predicted Hamon AET:PET Moisture Metric 2040-2069 — Dec-Feb
- Predicted Hamon AET:PET Moisture Metric 2040-2069 — Mar-May
- Predicted Hamon AET:PET Moisture Metric 2040-2069 — Jun-Aug
- Predicted Hamon AET:PET Moisture Metric 2040-2069 — Sep-Nov
- Predicted Precipitation Change 2040-2069
- Predicted Temperature 2040-2069 (F)
- Predicted Temperature 2040-2069 (C)
- Download the Introductory Training Session which describes how to best use the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index tool.
- View a webinar Overview of the Climate Change Vulnerability Index. This presentation describes the concepts used to develop the Index and the data sources it draws upon. Each of the assessment factors is illustrated with brief examples. The presentation concludes with a discussion of how the Index can be used for state assessments, drawing on the Nevada pilot study and experiences in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The presentation was given to the New Jersey Wildlife and Climate Change Alliance on February 22, 2010 by Elizabeth Byers of the West Virginia Natural Heritage Program. Elizabeth is part of the NatureServe development team for the Climate Change Vulnerability Index.
The Index in Use
- A task force in Nevada is using the Index to assess plant and animal species in the state as part of an update to their State Wildlife Action Plan.
- View guidance for state fish and wildlife agencies from the AFWA Climate Change Committee.
- Scientists with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program are using the Index to screen high-priority animal and plant species. The results will be provided to state agencies for potential use in future conservation planning. Contact Mary Ann Furedi for more information about the project.
- Read a report on the use of the Index to assess the vulnerability of at-risk species to climate change in West Virginia.
- Read a report on the use of the Index to assess the vulnerability of at-risk species to climate change in New York.
- See the results of application of the Index to at-risk species in Nevada.
- Look up Index values for species assessed in Pennsylvania.
- See species that were assessed in Illinois.
For technical questions about the Index and its use, send a comment to .