Climate Change Atlas

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Regional Assesments

Regional Assessments

We have been conducting several vulnerability assessments for the Climate Change Response Framework. The Framework is a collaborative, cross-boundary approach among scientists, managers, and landowners to incorporate climate change considerations into natural resource management. It provides an integrated set of tools, partnerships, and actions to support climate-informed conservation and forest management. The following tables are outputs from our part of the assessments – to better understand the vulnerability of tree species to climate change in their particular region. As of 2013, assessments have been conducted in the Northwoods, the Central Hardwoods, and the Central Appalachians (see map). These regions have been further subdivided for the tables represented here.
The assessment output tables are somewhat complicated, by necessity. To better interpret them, we provide information on Interpreting Regional Assessment Tables (PDF).

A key element of the study is to classify each species into one of eight classes of impacts  based on both PCMlo and GFDLhi (bracketed set of climate change scenarios), and based primarily on ratio of future habitat in 2100 to current habitat from the DISTRIB models:

    • Class 1: extirpated (complete loss)
    • Class 2: large decrease (Future:Current ratio <0.5) 
    • Class 3: small decrease (Future:Current ratio >0.5 & <0.8)
    • Class 4: no change (Future:Current ratio >0.8 & <1.2)
    • Class 5: small increase (Future:Current ratio >1.2 & <2)
    • Class 6: large increase (Future:Current ratio >2)
    • Class 7: new entry-high and low emissions (New Entry – PCM and GFDL)
    • Class 8: new entry-high emissions (New Entry - GFDLhi)

We also provide the Modifying Factors information for each species to be evaluated in tandem with the potential changes in suitable habitat. These are based on 9 biological and 12 disturbance factors (PDF - Also available in Excel format) not modeled in the DISTRIB models, which lead to an Adapt score related to the adaptability of the species to climate change.
For smoothest interpretation on vulnerability for a species, consider the Class designations for PCMlo and HADhi together with the Adapt score – these three indicators provide the best perspectives on how the species will fare into the climate-changed future. Please review publications to further understand the process; you can also contact Louis Iverson ( for further clarification if desired.

Vulnerability Assessment Tables for Potential Changes in Suitable Habitat for Trees

Wisconsin and western upper peninsula of Michigan PFD XLS
Minnesota PDF XLS
Michigan including the eastern upper peninsula PDF XLS
Central Hardwoods    
Missouri PDF XLS
Illinois PDF XLS
Indiana PDF XLS
Central Appalachians    
West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland (combined) PDF XLS
Supporting Documents    
Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) Codes PDF XLS
MODFACS Abbreviations PDF XLS

More Information
For more information, visit the Climate Change Response Framework website

National Climate Assessments

This work has been used for the National Climate Assessment, including the Forestry Sector and the Midwest Region reports. A General Technical Report has been published related to the Forest Sector Technical Report, used as input to the final Assessment report due out in 2014.  In it, we use the DISTRIB and Modification Factor outputs to derived risk matrices related to vulnerability of suitable habitat for species.