The Appalachian LCC (AppLCC) has made new climate change vulnerability assessments for 41 species and three habitats in the Appalachians available online, according to the Wildlife Management Institute. Assembled by NatureServe working under an AppLCC grant, the detailed dataset can be filtered by state, region, taxa, and ecological system.
Researchers first convened a panel of climate experts to compile and review existing vulnerability assessments, compare strengths and weaknesses of methodologies used, and recommend a vulnerability assessment method for adoption. The recommended method was deployed to generate vulnerability assessments for a suite of key species and habitats selected in consultation with partners of the AppLCC. The completed assessments are now on the AppLCC Web Portal, where users can view and search by vulnerability scores, conservation status ranks, higher taxonomy, and state and subregion of assessment. In addition, the results of 700 species assessments previously completed through other research as well as assessments on several other habitats are compiled and available.
The Appalachian region is rich in biodiversity that is highly threatened by energy production, development, and a host of other factors. Climate change will play out within this context, affecting habitats and species in different ways. Understanding the vulnerability of various species and habitats within the AppLCC region to climate change is of critical importance. Identifying the steps needed to acquire climate vulnerability information and then using this information to inform adaptation and mitigation strategies is a major research priority of the AppLCC.