Funded Research Projects: REEH

Strategic Approaches for Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment across the National Park System

Research Sponsored By: USDI National Park Service
Principal Investigator: Joshua Lawler
Project Description
Published research from U.S. national parks shows that climate change is melting snowpack and glaciers, shifting the ranges of plants and animals, altering wildfire patterns, raising sea level, and causing other impacts. Continued climate change in the future threatens the health and functioning of plant and animal species, ecosystems, cultural sites, and infrastructure in national parks. Yet, published scientific information on vulnerability to climate change exists for a limited set of resources in a fraction of the national park system. Currently, published spatial analyses that examine exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity cover selected resources in approximately 142 national parks out of 407 total. This project will be a cooperative effort between UW and NPS scientists to design an appropriate approach to assessing vulnerability of parks and park resources and to prioritize parks for evaluation and monitoring.