Virginia's Climate Modeling and Species Vulnerability Assessment: How Climate Data Can Inform Management and Conservation

This project developed models of select fish, wildlife and tree species distributions in Virginia under multiple climate change scenarios, and produced a species vulnerability assessment for the state. The assessment is intended to help decision makers better understand how climate change will likely affect sensitive species and habitats in Virginia. The project was funded by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) through a State Wildlife Grant, and by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and was supported by research from the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech. 

This report includes a summary of the findings from the modeling effort and vulnerability assessment, and discusses management concerns and implications based on the assessment results. The species vulnerability assessment was conducted for a selection of twenty Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) from the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan. This climate data-driven vulnerability assessment will allow for integration of climate change into an updated version of Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan at multiple levels, including revision of SGCN list, consideration of priorities, and development of conservation actions, among others.

In an effort to consider the types of management actions that may be needed in light of climate change, NWF and VDGIF personnel communicated with stakeholders and partners to identify management implications of the species vulnerability assessment for conserving Virginia’s wildlife and habitats as well as more overarching considerations. The report describes management considerations for: Forest, Coldwater fish and habitat, Frog and toad, Invasive species, as well as Overarching Management Implications.

The results of the assessment  also include a series of species distribution maps under current and future climate projections that were produced for each of the 20 species analyzed.


Publication Date: 2013

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Austin Kane
  • Chris Burkett
  • Scott Klopfer
  • Jacob Sewall

Related Organizations:

  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
  • Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  • Conservation Management Institute, Virginia Tech
  • National Wildlife Federation


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment

States Affected:


  • Air temperature
  • Precipitation changes

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