Assessing the Vulnerability of Key Habitats in New York: A Foundation for Climate Adaptation Planning

This report includes an evaluation of the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, and habitats of New York, and an overview of adaptation strategies. Developed by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the information produced through this project and included in this document will broadly inform the incorporation of climate change considerations into the revision of New York’s Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) which is slated for completion in 2015.

First, the report provides an evaluation of the vulnerabilities of nine primary habitat types in NY to the impacts of climate and non-climate stressors. The habitats researched in the habitat climate vulnerability assessments include: Northern hardwood forests, central mixed oak-pine forests, pitch pine barrens, montane spruce-fir forest, bogs, swamps, marsh and alpine tundra. 

A table is provided which outlines the vulnerability scoring of all nine New York habitats that were assessed across eco-region zones. The summary includes a vulnerability assessment score specific to climate-driven impacts, non-climate stressors, and an overall future vulnerability score. The summary table is followed by a narrative for each habitat that was run through the model.

The report also details a process wherein state vulnerability assessment data are utilized to identify adaptation strategies for conservation targets.

Finally, the report provides specific adaptation strategies that serve to increase the resiliency and/or adaptive capacity of sixteen target habitat and species from climate-driven impacts. The strategies represent a broad gradient from those that are quite general in nature and scope, to very specific solutions to increase the resiliency and/or adaptive capacity of the habitat or species.

The target habitat and species evaluated include:

Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis)
Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)
Moose (Alces alces)
Karner Blue Butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis)
Dwarf Wedge Mussel (Alasmidonta heterodon)
Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii)
Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)
Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)
Montane Spruce-Fir Forest
Northern Hardwood Forests
Boreal Bog
Cold Water Habitats
Emergent Marsh
Shrub Swamp
Stratified Lakes

The intention from NWF is that the assessment and management implications developed through this project will be useful to partner agencies across sectors in New York, including State natural resource managers, local municipal planners, transportation officials, coastal program managers, and other organizations participating in resource management.


Publication Date: 2013

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  • Assessment

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