A framework for assessing the vulnerability of species to climate change

a case study of the Australian elapid snakes

Abigail L. Cabrelli*, Adam J. Stow, Lesley Hughes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Frameworks that provide a system for assessing species according to their vulnerability to climate change can offer considerable guidance to conservation managers who need to allocate limited resources among a large number of taxa. To date, climate change vulnerability assessments have largely been based on projected changes in range size derived from the output of species distribution models (SDMs). A criticism of risk assessments based solely on these models is that information on species ecological and life history traits is lacking. Accordingly, we developed a points-based framework for assessing species vulnerability to climate change that considered species traits together with the projections of SDMs. Applying this method to the Australian elapid snakes (family Elapidae), we determined which species may be particularly susceptible in the future and assessed broad-scale biogeographic patterns in species vulnerability. By offering a more comprehensive and rigorous method for assessing vulnerability than those based solely on SDMs, this framework provides greater justification for resource allocation, and can help guide decisions regarding the most appropriate adaptation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3019-3034
Number of pages16
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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