Ecosystem vulnerability to climate change in the southeastern United States

Fact Sheet 2016-3052
By:  and 



Two recent investigations of climate-change vulnerability for 19 terrestrial, aquatic, riparian, and coastal ecosystems of the southeastern United States have identified a number of important considerations, including potential for changes in hydrology, disturbance regimes, and interspecies interactions. Complementary approaches using geospatial analysis and literature synthesis integrated information on ecosystem biogeography and biodiversity, climate projections, vegetation dynamics, soil and water characteristics, anthropogenic threats, conservation status, sea-level rise, and coastal flooding impacts. Across a diverse set of ecosystems—ranging in size from dozens of square meters to thousands of square kilometers—quantitative and qualitative assessments identified types of climate-change exposure, evaluated sensitivity, and explored potential adaptive capacity. These analyses highlighted key gaps in scientific understanding and suggested priorities for future research. Together, these studies help create a foundation for ecosystem-level analysis of climate-change vulnerability to support effective biodiversity conservation in the southeastern United States.

Suggested Citation

Cartwright, J.M., and Costanza, Jennifer, 2016, Ecosystem vulnerability to climate change in the southeastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016–3052, 4 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

ISSN: 2327-6916 (print)

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Ecosystem vulnerability to climate change in the southeastern United States
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2016-3052
DOI 10.3133/fs20163052
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center
Description 4 p.
Country United States
State Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, South Carolina, West Virginia
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details