A Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Aquatic Resources in the Tongass National Forest

This vulnerability assessment is an initial science-based effort to identify how and why important resources (snow, ice, and water features; riparian vegetation; fish species) across the Tongass National Forest are likely to be affected by both non-climate stressors and future climate conditions. In this assessment, vulnerability is a function of the sensitivity of the resource to climate and non-climate stressors, its anticipated exposure to climatic changes, and its capacity to adapt to or cope with changes. Specifically, sensitivity is defined as a measure of whether and how a resource is likely to be affected by a given change in climate, or factors driven by climate; exposure is defined as the degree of change in climatic factors a resource is likely to experience; and adaptive capacity is defined as the ability of a resource to accommodate or cope with climate change impacts with minimal disruption )Glick et al. 2011). The goal of this vulnerability assessment is to help resource managers plan their management of snow, ice and water features, riparian vegetation, and fish species in light of a changing climate. Specifically, this information can help identify management actions and responses and facilitate priority setting of those responses. The analyses and conclusions contained within this assessment are based on available information and expert opinion.