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“British Wildlife and Climate Change: Adaptation Actions for High Biodiversity”

Guidelines will be given about climate change adaptation actions to maintain as high a biodiversity as possible. The aim of this talk to explain the ideas and ecological principles which lie behind these guidelines.

There is clear evidence that biodiversity is changing due to climate change but much remains uncertain about the future. As is recognized in the recently published Stern Report, there is a need for us to take action as soon as possible. In this spirit, in May 2007, Guidelines about climate change adaptation were published by the UK Biodiversity Partnership, and it is the aim of this talk to explain the ideas and ecological principles which lie behind the guidelines.
It is foreseen in the guidelines that protected areas such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest will change with climate, but conserving these and other areas of high quality wildlife habitat will be essential.
Locally maintaining and enhancing landscape variety in terms of vegetation structure, slope, aspect and other features will be required. Changes in land use will also be needed if we are to create landscapes with the connectivity and ecological networks that will allow the less mobile species to disperse in response to climate change.
Some of our greatest challenges are on the coast, due to sea level rise, and in the management of rivers, where increased flood risk is predicted. A number of issues affecting habitat management can be identified, including the need to rethink time of year at which grazing and cutting are carried out and increased fire risks.
One of our greatest challenges is understanding which part of biodiversity change is due to climate change and which part is due to factors such as eutrophication; otherwise our conservation strategies will be ineffective. We will also need to adopt more flexible conservation targets unless we are to use resources unwisely.

Dr John Hopkins’ background is in Botany - a youthful amateur who went on to read Plant Science at King's College London. He did his PhD at Bristol University, on the flora and vegetation of The Lizard District, Cornwall, which is rich in Mediterranean elements. His first job was with the Nature Conservancy Council as "Assistant Regional Officer" for County Durham at a time when there were so few of them they could nearly hold their regional meetings in a phone box. This included responsibility for Upper Teesdale with its relict arctic alpine flora, so he has had experience of areas which may show markedly different responses to climate change. He has worked in statutory conservation for more than 26 years and his other jobs were as:
- Grassland Specialist for the Nature Conservancy Council, which gave him an opportunity to get to know most parts of England, Wales and Scotland.
- Head of Habitats Branch of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, where he was responsible for implementation of the Habitat Directive in the UK - which gave him plenty of experience of meeting rooms in Brussels.
- Principal Ecologist / Principal Specialist - Terrestrial Ecosystems at English Nature / Natural England where he has been involved in the interpretation of science for policy makers in a range of subject areas, including climate change.


Dr John Hopkins | talks


Date and Time:

9 November 2007 at 6:30 pm


2 hours



at a Birkbeck lecture theatre/University of London
020 7679 1069
Show map

Organised by:

Ecology and Conservation Studies Society
See other talks organised by Ecology and Conservation Studies Society...




Available from:

For free tickets and venue details, contact tel: 020 7679 1069, or e-mail: environment@fce.bbk.ac.uk

Additional Information:

For queries on lecture content, contact tel: 020 7485 7903, or e-mail: jeremy.wright@walkern.org.uk

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