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Climate Change

Evidence that climate is changing, due to human activity, is overwhelming and endorsed by the vast majority of scientific opinion. This changing climate is beginning to have an effect on ecosystems in the South West of England, this effect is expected to increase and accelerate in future.

Enabling biodiversity to adapt to climate change is a key aim of Biodiversity South West, with South West Nature Map being a key tool for this adaptation.

Key principles for adapting to climate change are highlighted in publication "Conserving biodiversity in a changing climate: guidance on building capacity to adapt". These are to:

  1. Conserve existing biodiversity. Manage existing wildlife sites well, as these will provide the source from which future adaptation can successfully take place.
  2. Reduce other sources of harm not linked to climate.
  3. Develop and maintain ecologically resilient and varied landscapes. Increase the area of land managed for wildlife, to enable adaptation to take place (for species to move and for habitats to adapt). Maintaining diversity in the landscape (for example aspect, slope, vegetation structure and water regime) to increase the chances of species being able to spread to more favourable habitats.
  4. Establish ecological networks through habitat protection, restoration and creation. Work to make the countryside more permeable to wildlife, with key habitat features present across all farmed, forested and urban landscapes.
  5. Make sound decisions based on analysis.
  6. Integrate adaptation and mitigation measures into conservation management, planning and practice.

A glossary of climate change terminology (pdf 700kb)

The following publications provide more information on climate change -

Conserving Biodiversity in a Changing Climate (PDF 1.48mb)
Climate Change - Wildlife and Adaptation (PDF 1.88mb)
England Biodiversity Strategy - Climate Change Adaption Principles (PDF 386kb)
Birds on the Move (PDF 834kb)

More information about climate change can be found on the following websites -

South West Climate Change Impacts Partnership
The Met Office Hadley Centre
The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change
BRANCH (Biodiversity, Spatial Planning, Climate Change)
UK Climate Impacts Programme