This vulnerability assessment is an initial science-based effort to identify how and why focal resources (ecosystems, species populations, and ecosystem services) across the Sierra Nevada region are likely to be affected by future climate conditions. This assessment centers on the Sierra Nevada region of California, from foothills to crests, including ten national forests and two national parks. Twenty‐seven focal resources including eight ecosystems, populations of fifteen species, and four ecosystem services were identified as important by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as part of their forest plan revision process or by Sierra Nevada stakeholders and are considered in this assessment. Vulnerabilities of these resources were evaluated during the Vulnerability Assessment Workshop (held March 5-7, 2013); resources included 8 ecosystems (alpine/subalpine, yellow pine/mixed conifer, red fir, wet meadows and fens, oak woodlands, chaparral, sagebrush, and aquatic), 15 species (fisher, marten, bighorn sheep, wood rat, willow flycatcher, mountain quail, sage grouse, Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, mountain yellow-legged frog, red fir, blue oak, black oak, whitebark pine, bristlecone pine, and aspen), and 4 ecosystem services (timber and wood products, carbon, fire, and recreation).
The vulnerability assessment results are comprised of evaluations and comments from a participant breakout group during the workshop, peer-review comments following the workshop from at least one additional expert in the subject area, and relevant references from the literature. The resulting documents are not comprehensive; rather they are an initial evaluation of vulnerability based on existing information and expert input. They are intended to be living documents that can be revised and expanded upon as new information becomes available.
The overarching goal is to help resource managers and stakeholders plan their management of these focal resources in light of a changing climate. Specifically, this information can facilitate priority setting for management action and responses, helping to sustain optimal conditions for and productivity of focal resources.
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