A multidisciplinary multi-scale framework for assessing vulnerabilities to global change

Publication Type  Journal Article
Authors  Metzger, Marc J.; Leemans, Rik; Schröter, Dagmar
Year  2005
Name of Journal  International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Volume  7
Number  4
Pages  253-267
Abstract  Terrestrial ecosystems provide a number of vital services for people and society, such as food, fibre, water resources, carbon sequestration, and recreation. The future capability of ecosystems to provide these services is determined by changes in socio-economic factors, land use, atmospheric composition, and climate. Most impact assessments do not quantify the vulnerability of ecosystems and ecosystem services under such environmental change. They cannot answer important policy-relevant questions such as [`]Which are the main regions or sectors that are most vulnerable to global change? [`]How do the vulnerabilities of two regions compare? [`]Which scenario is the least harmful for a sector? This paper describes a new approach to vulnerability assessment developed by the Advanced Terrestrial Ecosystem Analysis and Modelling (ATEAM) project. Different ecosystem models, covering biodiversity, agriculture, forestry, hydrology, and carbon sequestration are fed with the same Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios based on the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). Each model gives insights into specific ecosystems, as in traditional impact assessments. Moreover, by integrating the results in a vulnerability assessment, the policy-relevant questions listed above can also be addressed. A statistically derived European environmental stratification forms a key element in the vulnerability assessment. By linking it to other quantitative environmental stratifications, comparisons can be made using data from different assessments and spatial scales.
Keywords  Adaptive capacity; Climate change; Ecosystem services; Environmental stratification; Potential impact; Vulnerability assessment
DOI  10.1016/j.jag.2005.06.011
URL  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6X2F-4H9YCF6-2/2/aaef0cdce9837856bf48be43fdba623c
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