Accessible Navigation. Go to: Navigation Main Content Footer
A collaborative project of the University of Montana and the USDA Forest Service

Understanding and assessing community and social vulnerability and adaptive capacity in the context of climate change

Communities in North America face a myriad of ecological and socioeconomic changes due to climate change.  These communities are already coping with and adapting to prolonged drought, insect and disease outbreaks, changing fire regimes, extreme weather events, and shifts in recreation and tourism.  Forest Service leadership has identified the need for vulnerability assessments of human communities near and/or dependent on National Forests (see Forest Service Climate Change Performance Scorecard which calls for vulnerability assessments at the regional and unit scales).  The Community Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity Project works to:

  1. Develop effective methods and tools for vulnerability assessment, both in-depth research projects and rapid assessment tools. 
  2. Improve understanding of adaptive capacity (and its relationship to vulnerability) and how communities might increase their adaptive capacity in the face of climate change.
  3. Work with Forest Service staff at multiple scales to integrate understanding and assessment of social and community vulnerability and adaptive capacity into forest planning and vulnerability assessments. 
  4. Develop synthesis and application documents, and engage national-level agency decision-makers in how to effectively integrate social vulnerability into National Forest management. 
  5. Facilitate dialogue between scientists from multiple research stations and their university collaborators regarding synergies between research projects and opportunities to collaborate on science application and delivery, and broader communications.