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Nature Conservation: Climate Change

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps the Government has taken to assess the extent of damage to wildlife resulting from the effects of climate change. (202525)

Key impacts of climate change on wildlife have already been observed, including changes in the timings of seasonal events, shifts in the ranges of species, and changes to habitats and ecosystems.

In 2007, the Government responded, with others, by publishing the guidance “Conserving Biodiversity in a Changing Climate” aimed at those planning and delivering wildlife conservation in the UK. The guidance helps conservation practitioners to build capacity to adapt and, amongst other principles, acknowledges the importance of continued monitoring to enable them to identify and respond to the impacts of climate change on wildlife.

DEFRA has an ongoing programme of research to assess the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. Last year the results of two projects were published:

The “MONARCH report (Modelling Natural Resource Responses to Climate Change)” modelled possible changes to some UK species ranges in response to different climate scenarios; and

“England Biodiversity Strategy”—towards adaptation to climate change which reviewed the scientific evidence and summarised the impacts of climate change on the biodiversity of England.

A review of the impacts of climate change on migratory species was published in 2005 and we are currently funding further research into identifying migratory species which could be used as indicators to monitor the effects of climate change. DEFRA has invested in the National Biodiversity Network, the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme and the Environmental Change Network which, amongst several other objectives, also provide means of detecting ongoing impacts of climate change on biodiversity.