Czúcz B., Torda G., Molnár Zs., Horváth F., Botta-Dukát Z., Kröel-Dulay Gy. (2009): A spatially explicit, indicator-based methodology for quantifying the vulnerability and adaptability of natural ecosystems. In: Filho WL, Mannke F (eds): Interdisciplinary Aspects of Climate Change. Peter Lang Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, Frankfurt, pp. 209-227.
Ecosystems contribute inconspicuously, yet fundamentally, to human well-being by supplying vital goods and services, including genetic resources, habitat maintenance and climate and runoff regulation. The combined effects of climate change and other global change drivers may impose dramatic impacts on species and ecosystems worldwide, with potentially detrimental consequences on human society. In this chapter we present a vulnerability assessment for the natural and semi-natural ecosystems of Hungary, calculating the local exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of different habitat types. Exposure was calculated using six different clobal climate model (GCM) outputs comprising of four different models and three emission scenarios, providing a cross-section of the climatic and socio-economic uncertainties within the projections. To estimate the sensitivity of habitats, four types of climate sensitivity were identified and estimated either quantitatively or semi-quantitatively. Adaptive capacity of habitat occurrences was assessed using landscape ecological evaluation of the quality and distribution of habitat patches. Three potential indicators of adaptive capacity were identified, describing (1) the potential resilience of the individual habitat patches, (2) the local refuge-providing ability of the landscape, and (3) the connectivity and permeability of the landscape. By combining results of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity, climatic vulnerability maps of natural ecosystems were produced. This case study, prepared for the Hungarian National Climate Change Strategy, provides the first example of a methodology to give quantitative estimation of the potential climatic vulnerability and adaptive capacity of ecosystems based on a detailed habitat database.