If wildlife is to adapt successfully to climate change, we must make it easier for species to move through the landscape to new habitats.
The impacts of climate change already affect our wildlife and countryside. The Biodiversity Requires Adaptation in Northwest Europe under a Changing Climate (BRANCH) project offered guidance on using spatial planning to help wildlife and their habitats adapt to climate change.
BRANCH found that Europe's fragmented landscapes are likely to prevent many species from moving into new areas as the climate changes. It argued that if spatial planning created networks of high quality, well-connected habitats, then wildlife would be more resilient to climate change.
New planning policies and tools must be put in place to achieve this and BRANCH’s work has laid the foundation for these.
What we did and why
BRANCH's final report summarises the project's research findings. It urges spatial planners to act now to ensure that wildlife can respond to climate change.
Leading in one of the five areas of the report, we worked with Hampshire County Council to examine the impacts of sea-level rise on the south coast, from individual sites to entire stretches of coastline. We used a range of climate change scenarios, from now to the 2080s.
We also worked with partners to review planning policies, identify difficulties and develop decision making on policy and planning decisions for biodiversity in the face of climate change.
BRANCH was part funded by European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) and included international partners to share experience and knowledge.
Who was involved
Conservatoire de l’espace littoral et des ravages lacustres
Environmental Change Institute
Hampshire County Council
Kent County Council
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research