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Ecosystem Vulnerability Featured Content

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The 2018 National Climate Assessment’s chapter on Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity provides a comprehensive overview of the latest scientific knowledge on the impacts of climate change on ecosystems. For greater understanding and exploration of ecosystem vulnerability to climate change and other stressors, the following resources are recommended.

Biodiversity Conservation

  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility U.S. Node (GBIF-US): This data portal provides access to a large collection of datasets of species occurrence (e.g., plants and animals) found in the United States, and relevant geospatial layers for download and mapping.
  • Critical Habitat Mapper: Displays information about critical habitat designations across the United States for threatened and endangered species.
  • Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool: Includes maps that display crucial terrestrial and aquatic wildlife habitat and corridors across the West. The interactive viewer displays the rankings of crucial habitats at a square-mile scale.
  • Essential Fish Habitat Mapper: A spatial representation of essential fish habitats (EFH), or those habitats that have been identified and described as necessary to fish, as well as habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs), and EFH areas protected from fishing.

Land Cover and Ecosystem Services

  • CropScape: A web-based interactive map visualization, dissemination, and querying system for U.S. cropland, hosted through NASS. Capabilities include online geospatial crop information access, geospatial query and online analytics via interactive maps. CropScape provides crop-specific land cover data layers created annually for the continental United States using moderate resolution satellite imagery and extensive agricultural ground truth.
  • EnviroAtlas: A mapping tool that allows users to explore ecosystem services and developed environments across the U.S.
  • National Land Cover Database Evaluation, Visualization, and Analysis (EVA) Tool: NLCD EVA provides user-friendly access to national and state land cover and land cover change information developed through the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium. It eliminates the need for desktop geographic information system software, or advanced technical expertise, by processing NLCD data for the user and providing easy access to that distilled information. As well as displaying land cover information, the tool also summarizes general land change trends as well as providing users with the option to specify and explore specific land change classes of interest.
  • USGS Global Ecosystems Viewer: Displays ecosystem mapping efforts for three continental areas – the United States, South America, and Africa. Ecosystems are geospatially delineated as facets of the landscape generated through biophysical stratification by bioclimate, biogeography, lithology, landforms, surface moisture, and land cover.

Carbon Sequestration

  • LandCarbon: A suite of data products developed as part of a national ecosystem assessment of biological carbon sequestration. The assessment focused on changes in carbon stocks and fluxes in all the major ecosystems, and on the major natural and anthropogenic processes that control carbon cycling (such as climate change, land use, and wildland fires). The greenhouse gases considered in this assessment were carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO, from wildland fires only), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O).


  • LANDFIRE: This program provides over 25 national geo-spatial layers (e.g. vegetation, fuel, disturbance, etc.), databases, and ecological models that are available to the public for the U.S. and insular areas.

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