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Ecosystem Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Literature Review

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This working paper reports results from a literature review on ecosystem vulnerability to climate change undertaken within the CIFOR-led project AdaptEA, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. A total of 410 scientific publications were reviewed, with 183 studies examined in detail. Of those papers with clear geographic focus, most examined European or North American ecosystems, with only 18 studies focusing on Africa. Climatic and environmental drivers considered were temperature (52% of studies), precipitation (52%), carbon dioxide (15%) and rising sea level (11%). Methods used in assessment were expert knowledge (29%), statistical inference (27%), mechanistic modelling (27%), observation (5%) and experimentation (2%). Ten per cent of studies presented concepts for vulnerability assessment. For each major assessment type, sub-types were defined and evaluated.