Assessing Social Vulnerability to the Impacts of Climate Change on Forest Ecosystems: A Case Study of the Pacific Northwest Thesis uri icon



  • Thesis (M.S., Geography)--University of Idaho, June 2015 | Climate change is expected to alter the composition and distribution of earth’s forests. The impacts of these ecological changes will have many social consequences. The individuals and households that will be most affected will likely be those that derive value from forest resources. This thesis proposes a methodology for identifying human populations that may be differentially impacted by forest related climate changes with the use of a social vulnerability framework. Dynamic vegetation change models were used to quantify exposure to climate change related forest changes. Sensitivity and adaptive capacity were calculated using an indicator-based approach. The social (sensitivity and adaptive capacity) and biophysical (exposure) systems were related with a measure of economic forest dependence. The components were combined to produce a measure of vulnerability to forest related climate changes. The results of this assessment are useful for informing management decisions and the proposed methodology allows for the assessment of spatially indirect hazards.

publication date

  • August 15, 2015