A vulnerability assessment can be used to determine which fish, wildlife, and plant species may be most vulnerable to climate change, and why. Many of these assessments have been conducted in California by various entities, and these studies provide crucial information for conservation and adaptation planning.
Below is a list of climate change vulnerability assessments for fish, wildlife, and plants that have been completed by or funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in California (with one exception as noted below). The climate vulnerability ranks and associated maps developed by these assessments provide a comprehensive view of climate vulnerability of wildlife species and habitats in California as of the date of publication. Wildlife species that were identified as climate vulnerable by these studies were included in the 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan as Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
Climate science is a rapidly evolving field, and new studies and updated information will be posted as they become available. Also included below are resources and tools for conducting vulnerability assessments for species and habitats.
Climate change vulnerability reports for California species
- Birds – a climate vulnerability analysis of 358 California birds was completed by Point Reyes Bird Observatory (Point Blue Conservation Science) in 2011 as part of the Department’s Bird Species of Special Concern update.
- Reptiles and Amphibians – a climate risk analysis for all 153 reptile and amphibian species in California was completed by the University of California, Davis (UCD) in 2013 with funding provided by CDFW.
- Mammals – a climate vulnerability analysis of 20 native California mammal taxa was completed by the University of California, Davis (UCD) in 2016 with funding provided by CDFW.
- Fish – a climate vulnerability analysis of freshwater fishes in California, including 121 native fish taxa and 43 aliens, was completed by the University of California, Davis in 2012 with funding from the California Energy Commission. The project was part of the state’s third climate change assessment.
- Vegetation – a climate vulnerability analysis of natural vegetation community types state-wide in California, completed by the University of California, Davis in 2016 with funding provided by CDFW. The assessment was completed in association with the 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan update.
- Rare plants – a vulnerability analysis of 156 rare plant species in California was completed by CDFW in 2011 with funding provided by the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
Resources for conducting vulnerability assessments