Climate change report card prompts action to conserve biodiversity

The Living With Environmental Change Partnership (LWEC) has gathered together the latest evidence and observations to show how climate change is affecting the UK's countryside.

The findings, which have been amalgamated to form a report card, also show what might be expected in the future as the magnitude of climate change increases.

Called the Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Impacts Report Card, it is the first in a series of expert reports to advise government policy makers, land managers, environmental consultants and researchers on what current evidence indicates and to help them make decisions relating to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Announcing its publication today, Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: “It’s essential that we improve our understanding of how the natural environment is changing, as this affects the action we need to take to conserve biodiversity. New policies are based on scientific evidence, which is why research like this is so important.”

The report card sets out the key trends in how UK biodiversity is responding to climate change, and provides an assessment of these trends based on the level of monitoring and research data available.

Natural England’s Dr Mike Morecroft led the development of the report card and said: “When thinking about climate change it’s important to stand back, review the evidence and take a long-term view. The report card shows strong evidence from a large number of different scientific studies that the natural world has started to respond to climate change over the last few decades”.

The report card also explores what might happen in the future, based on the current understanding of the way in which climate affects our plants and animals.

According to the LWEC, it is essential that researchers continue to monitor and improve their understanding of how wildlife is affected by climate change as this will affect how we manage our land and conserve our biodiversity in the UK.

The project was managed by Natural England, working with the Environment Agency and the LWEC Directorate and has been funded by Defra and the Natural Environment Research Council.

Leigh Stringer

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