Ecosystem vulnerability to climate change in the southeastern United States

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Two recent investigations of climate-change vulnerability for 19 terrestrial, aquatic, riparian, and coastal ecosystems of the southeastern United States have identified a number of important considerations, including potential for changes in hydrology, disturbance regimes, and interspecies interactions. Complementary approaches using geospatial analysis and literature synthesis integrated information on ecosystem biogeography and biodiversity, climate projections, vegetation dynamics, soil and water characteristics, anthropogenic threats, conservation status, sea-level rise, and coastal flooding impacts. Across a diverse set of ecosystems—ranging in size from dozens of square meters to thousands of square kilometers—quantitative and qualitative assessments identified types of climate-change exposure, evaluated sensitivity, and explored potential adaptive capacity. These analyses highlighted key gaps in scientific understanding and suggested priorities for future research. Together, these studies help create a foundation for ecosystem-level analysis of climate-change vulnerability to support effective biodiversity conservation in the southeastern United States.

Document Type: 

  • Fact Sheet


  • critical issues, database publication, climate, flood, ecosystem, soils, water, texas, oklahoma, arkansas, louisiana, mississippi, missouri, tennessee, kentucky, west virginia, virginia, north carolina, south carolina, georgia, florida