Assessing “inherent vulnerability” of forests: a methodological approach and a case study from Western Ghats, India

  • Jagmohan Sharma
  • Rajiv Kumar Chaturvedi
  • G. Bala
  • N. H. Ravindranath
Original Article

Abstract

The objective of this study is to present a methodological approach to assess the inherent vulnerability of forests and apply it to a case study. Addressing inherent vulnerability, resulting from current stresses, is a necessary step for building resilience to long-term climate change. The proposed approach includes use of analytical framework that enables selection of vulnerability criteria and indicators systematically, application of pairwise comparison method (PCM) for assigning weights, and synthesis of a composite vulnerability index. This methodological approach has been applied at local scale to Aduvalli Protected Forest in Western Ghats in South India, where a vulnerability index value of 0.248 is estimated. Results of the case study indicate that ‘preponderance of invasive species’ and forest dependence of community are the major sources of vulnerability at present for Aduvalli Protected Forest. Adoption of this methodology can assist in development of forest management plans to enhance adaptability of Aduvalli PF to current as well as future stresses, including climate change. This methodological approach can be applied across forest-types after appropriate changes to criteria and indicators and their weights, to estimate the inherent vulnerability to enable development of adaptation strategy.

Keywords

Criteria and indicators Forest restoration Inherent vulnerability Vulnerability assessment Vulnerability source mechanism 

References

  1. Allen CD, Macalady AK, Chenchouni H et al (2010) A global overview of drought and heat-induced tree mortality reveals emerging climate change risks for forests. For Ecol Manag 259:660–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen K (2003) Vulnerability reduction and the community-based approach. In: Peeling (ed) Natural disaster and development in a globalizing world, pp 170–184Google Scholar
  3. Bala G, Joshi J, Chaturvedi RK et al (2013) Trends and variability of AVHRR-derived NPP in India. Remote Sens 5(2):810–829CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brooks N (2003) Vulnerability, risk and adaptation: a conceptual framework. Tyndall Centre Working Paper No. 38Google Scholar
  5. Ciccarese L, Mattsson A, Pettenella D (2012) Ecosystem services from forest restoration: thinking ahead. New For 43(5/6):543–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chaturvedi RK, Gopalakrishna R, Jayaraman M et al (2011) Impact of climate change on Indian forests: a dynamic vegetation modeling approach. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 16:119–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Eriksen SH, Kelly PM (2007) Developing credible vulnerability indicators for climate adaption policy. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 12:495–524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Freudenberg M (2003) Composite indicators of country performance: a critical assessment. OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Paper, 2003/16, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/405566708255
  9. Gimaret-Carpentier C, Pélissier R, Pascal JP et al (1998) Sampling strategies for the assessment of tree species diversity. J Veg Sci 9:161–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Glick P, Stein BA, Edelson NA (eds) (2011) Scanning the conservation horizon: a guide to climate change vulnerability assessment. National Wildlife Federation, Washington DC. www.nwf.org/vulnerabilityguide. Cited 13 July 2013
  11. Harmer R, Beauchamp K, Morgan G (2011) Natural regeneration in Western hemlock plantations on ancient woodland sites. Research note. Forestry Commission UK. www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FCRN001.pdf/$file/FCRN001.pdf. Cited 13 July 2013
  12. Harris JA, Hobbs RJ, Higgs E, Aronson J (2006) Ecological restoration and global climate change. Restor Ecol 14(2):170–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. IPCC (2007) In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contributions of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  14. Joshi HB, Loganey RN, Patnaik LK et al (eds) (1980) Silviculture of Indian trees, Vol 4. Controller of Publications, Government of India Press, Nasik, p 150Google Scholar
  15. Kerr G, Mason B, Boswell R, Pommerening A (2002) Monitoring the transformation of even-aged stands to continuous cover management. Forestry commission UK. www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FCIN45.pdf/$file/FCIN45.pdf. Cited 13 July 2013
  16. Kodandapani N, Cochrane MA, Sukumar RV (2008) A comparative analysis of spatial, temporal and ecological characteristics of forest fires in a seasonally dry tropical forest ecosystem in the Western Ghats, India. For Ecol Manag 256:607–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lexer MJ, Seidl R (2009) Addressing biodiversity in a stakeholder-driven climate change vulnerability assessment of forest management. For Ecol Manag 258S:S158–S167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lindner M, Maroschek M, Netherer S et al (2010) Climate change impacts, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability of European forest ecosystems. For Ecol Manag 259:698–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Luers AL, Lobell DB, Sklar LS et al (2003) A method for quantifying vulnerability, applied to the agricultural system of the Yaqui Valley, Mexico. Glob Environ Chang 13:255–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Malone EL, Engle NL (2011) Evaluating regional vulnerability to climate change: purposes and methods. WIREs Clim Chang 2:462–474. doi:10.1002/wcc.116 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mrosek T, Balsillie D, Schleifenbaum P (2006) Field testing of a criteria and indicators system for sustainable forest management at the local level. Case study results concerning the sustainability of the private forest Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve in Ontario, Canada. For Policy Econ 8:593–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Næss LO, Norland IT, Lafferty WM et al (2006) Data and processes linking vulnerability assessment to adaptation decision-making on climate change in Norway. Glob Environ Chang 16:221–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nemani RR, Keeling CD, Hashimoto H et al (2003) Climate-driven increases in global terrestrial net primary production from 1982 to 1999. Science 300:1560–1563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Niemeijer D, de Groot RS (2008) A conceptual framework for selecting environmental indicator sets. Ecol Indic 8:14–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Niemelä J (1999) Management in relation to disturbance in the boreal forest. For Ecol Manag 115:127–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Saaty TL (2008) Relative measurement and its generalization in decision making why pairwise comparisons are central in mathematics for the measurement of intangible factors. The analytic hierarchy/network process. Rev R Acad Cien Serie A Mat 102(2):251–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schröter D, Polsky C, Patt AG (2005) Assessing vulnerabilities to the effects of global change: an eight step approach. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 10:573–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Seidl R, Lexer MJ (2013) Forest management under climatic and social uncertainty: trade-offs between reducing climate change impacts and fostering adaptive capacity. J Environ Manag 114:461–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sharma J, Chaturvedi RK, Bala G et al (2013) Challenges in vulnerability assessment of forests under climate change. Carbon Manag 4(4):403–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Smit B, Wandel J (2006) Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Glob Environ Chang 16:282–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thompson I (2011) Biodiversity, ecosystem thresholds, resilience and forest degradation. Unasylva 238(62):25–30Google Scholar
  32. Tixier J, Dandrieux A, Dusserre G et al (2006) Environmental vulnerability assessment in the vicinity of an industrial site in the frame of ARAMIS European project. J Hazard Mater 130:251–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Turner BL II, Matson PA, McCarthy JJ (2003) Illustrating the coupled human-environment system for vulnerability analysis: three case studies. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 100:8080–8085CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Valente RA, Vettorazzi CA (2008) Definition of priority areas for forest conservation through the ordered weighted averaging method. For Ecol Manag 256:1408–1417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wang N, Bao Y (2011) Modeling forest quality at stand level: a case study of Loess plateau in China. For Policy Econ 13:488–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jagmohan Sharma
    • 1
  • Rajiv Kumar Chaturvedi
    • 1
  • G. Bala
    • 2
  • N. H. Ravindranath
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Sustainable TechnologiesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Divecha Center for Climate ChangeIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations