NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index

The NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) can help identify plant and animal species that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Using the Index, information is readily available about a species' natural history, distribution and landscape circumstances to predict whether it will likely suffer habitat loss, population reductions, or both during the coming years. CCVI can be used as part of a variety of analyses, including assessing the relative risk of species listed in State Wildlife Action Plans or part of any assessment of the vulnerability of species to climate change. The Index itself is an MS Excel workbook that allows the user to apply the analysis to individual plant and animal species, and store the personalized results.

The Index uses a scoring system described as integrating a species’ predicted exposure to climate change within an assessment area and three sets of factors associated with climate change sensitivity, each supported by published studies:

1. Indirect exposure to climate change

2. Species-specific sensitivity and adaptive capacity factors (including dispersal ability, temperature and precipitation sensitivity, physical habitat specificity, interspecific interactions, and genetic factors)

3. Documented response to climate change

The Guidelines for Using the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index v3.02 document outlines the rationale for the Index, describes how it works, provides step-by-step instructions for applying the criteria used, and lists ways you can apply the results in strategies for adaptation planning.


Publication Date: April 2011

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment guide
  • Tool (general)


  • Air temperature
  • Precipitation changes

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