Vulnerability assessments are important tools to assist in climate adaptation planning. Six priority ecosystems were identified in the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region: alpine turf and dwarf-shrubland; aquatic, riparian, and wetland ecosystems in glaciated valleys; subalpine spruce-fir; low-gradient mountain stream reaches; ponderosa pine; and Great Plains streams and riparian areas. Vulnerability to nonclimate and climate stressors for these priority ecosystems is assessed. Criteria used to assess vulnerability include ecosystem traits related to the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the ecosystem. We engaged scientists through an expert review to vet the vulnerability rankings and confidence in the assessment. Aquatic ecosystems were the most vulnerable priority ecosystem, and alpine ecosystems had higher vulnerability than lower elevation terrestrial ecosystems. The narrative for each priority ecosystem describes the nature of the vulnerability to climate change.
Rice, Janine R.; Joyce, Linda A.; Regan, Claudia; Winters, David; Truex, Rick. 2018. Climate change vulnerability assessment of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-376. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 216 p.