Natural England and the RSPB, in partnership with the Environment Agency’s Climate Ready Support Service and the Forestry Commission have today published a new resource for conservation practitioners: ‘Climate change adaptation manual: evidence to support nature conservation in a changing climate’.

There is strong evidence that climate change is already affecting wildlife and habitats; species such as the Dartford warbler and the bee orchid are moving further north and recent storms have highlighted the vulnerability of coastal and wetland habitats.

But we can reduce the risks of climate change and, in some cases, make the most of new opportunities for species and habitats.  The Climate Change Adaptation Manual helps land managers and conservationists to plan and take action to limit the impacts of climate change on the natural environment. This is a ground-breaking step forward in responding to the risks recently highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its report ‘Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’.

The manual is a hands-on document giving up-to-date, detailed, habitat-specific information for conservation managers to use, to prepare and respond to a changing climate.  It is divided into three sections, focusing on:

  • the key concepts for making decisions about adaptation and the impact of climate change on the natural environment;
  • climate change impacts and potential adaptation responses for 27 of England’s most important habitats; and
  • the relationship between climate change and the delivery of ecosystem services.

Andrew Wood, Executive Director at Natural England said: “Climate change has wide-ranging implications for habitats and species in Britain and for the way that the countryside is managed.  The Manual gives conservation managers and advisors access to the best available science to enable their conservation work to be carried out with climate change adaptation in mind.”

Martin Harper, Conservation Director at the RSPB said: “We’re already witnessing the impacts of climate change at RSPB nature reserves across the country – and we’re taking action to ensure we protect wildlife from these changes.

“If we are going to help threatened species adapt to a warmer climate then we need to act fast. We also need to work together and share knowledge and experience – I hope this manual will help us do just that. Science has given us a clear warning about the future and we have no excuse for not acting now.”

The Manual builds on experience gained from climate change impact assessments and adaptation planning at National Nature Reserves and RSPB nature reserves, together with contributions from a range of partners including the RSPB, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Wildlife Trusts and National Park Authorities. Potential users include nature reserve managers, conservation organisations, ecological consultants, local authority ecologists and those working at the larger scale in Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs), Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks.

The Climate Change Adaptation Manual can be found on Natural England’s publications catalogueexternal link.
For media queries, please contact Ellen Softley, Natural England’s Press Office. Tel: 0300 060 0213