Climate change is altering environments where rare plants grow. Assessing species' vulnerability to climate change is important for organizations responsible for managing natural areas and conserving rare species. We assessed the climate change vulnerability of 34 rare plant taxa from the western United States using two methods: NatureServe's Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) and one based on Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) using Maxent. Of the eight taxa categorized as Extremely Vulnerable by the CCVI, five show significant future loss in each of three SDM measures: change in suitable area, suitable area overlap, and habitat suitability in their present location. Both the CCVI and SDM are important tools to assess climate change vulnerability; each method has complementary strengths that can help land managers make decisions. Here we present examples of how land managers can use SDM and the CCVI in combination to assess climate change vulnerability, to inform rare plant management decisions, and to conserve biological diversity.
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Vol. 35 • No. 1