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Assessing Social Vulnerability to Climate Change in Human Communities near Public Forests and Grasslands: A Framework for Resource Managers and Planners

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Public land management agencies have incorporated the concept of vulnerability into protocols for assessing and planning for climate change impacts on public forests and grasslands. However, resource managers and planners have little guidance for how to address the social aspects of vulnerability in these assessments and plans. Failure to assess social vulnerability to climate change during management planning could compromise land management agencies' adaptation strategies as well as public support for these strategies. We provide a framework for understanding and assessing social vulnerability to climate change in US public lands contexts. We describe types of information that can be used in social vulnerability assessments and ways this information can be gathered. The practical information that we provide is intended to help resource managers and planners meet current policy requirements for assessing potential impacts of climate change across diverse local social and ecological conditions for which one-size-fits-all approaches are not likely to be useful.

Keywords: climate change; general; natural resource planning; public land management; social vulnerability

Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5849/jof.12-091

Publication date: September 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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