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Assessments of species’ vulnerability to climate change: from pseudo to science


Climate change vulnerability assessments (CCVAs) are important tools to plan for and mitigate potential impacts of climate change. However, CCVAs often lack scientific rigor, which can ultimately lead to poor conservation prioritization and associated ecological and economic costs. We discuss the need to improve comparability and consistency of CCVAs and either validate their findings or improve assessment of CCVA uncertainty and sensitivity to methodological assumptions.

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Helpful comments on earlier drafts were provided by T. Beechie, G. Chong, and P. Cross. This work was funded by a National Aeronautics and Space Administration ROSES Grant 12-ECOF12-0055. A US Geological Survey Mendenhall Fellowship partially supported RPK. GL and RPK were also partially supported by National Science Foundation-DEB 1258203. BKH received support from the Department of the Interior Northwest Climate Science Center. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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Correspondence to Alisa A. Wade.

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Communicated by David Hawksworth.

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Wade, A.A., Hand, B.K., Kovach, R.P. et al. Assessments of species’ vulnerability to climate change: from pseudo to science. Biodivers Conserv 26, 223–229 (2017).

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  • Conservation
  • Prioritization
  • Rigor
  • Uncertainty