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Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) home page | Sponsored by Welsh Assembly Government NRW Logo

Countryside Council for Wales
Environmental change Please note - A new body, Natural Resources Wales has taken over all functions and services previously carried out by Countryside Council for Wales. While the Natural Resources Wales website continues to be developed, some online services will continue to be provided on this web site.

Biodiversity & Climate Change

In order to develop policies to help nature adapt to climate change, it’s important to try and predict how the climate change will affect biodiversity.

A project called MONARCH has been set up to bring different agencies together to predict the effects of climate change on terrestrial habitats and species.  At the cutting edge of climate change research, MONARCH assesses which areas will become suitable for different species as the climate changes, and also tries to work out what other factors may help or block their movement. 

The Prince project is looking at the impact of climate change on freshwater habitats.

A project led by DEFRA – the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs - is looking at how climate change affects inter-tidal habitats.  This builds on the work already done by the MarClim project.

Case study: Snowdonia

One example of the predicted effects of climate change on biodiversity is the modelling work done as part of the Monarch project on possible outcomes in Snowdonia.
This reinforced the threat to montane heath and upland heath habitats as species spread from lower altitudes, dramatically altering community composition.

Response: helping species to move

Climate change means that some areas will alter so much that they will no longer be suitable for some species. These species will die or move elsewhere. But moving is not easy if there are fewer suitable places to go or if they are far apart.

CCW believes that a three-pronged approach to creating a more resilient landscape.  This involves:

  • developing habitat connectivity
  • landscape permeability
  • adaptive site management

Developing habitat connectivity

It's hard for species to occupy new areas if habitats are fragmented and isolated, as they so often are, particularly in the lowlands.  CCW aims to develop more links between habitats by restoring some that have declined and creating new areas so that it’s easier for species to migrate. For example, the Meirionnydd Woodlands are being restored.

Landscape Permeability

Other schemes, such as the agriculture and environment scheme, Tir Gofal, through preserving wildlife habitats on agricultural land help species to move across agricultural land between suitable habitats.

Adaptive site management

Within SSSIs and other designated wildlife sites, the emphasis today is on protecting the habitats and species for which the site is considered special.  With a changing climate, however, management plans will need to focus on underlying environmental conditions, such as hydrology.  For example, managers of wetland sites will need to develop further their measures to combat increased dryness in summer.

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The land and sea use team
C/O Enquiries
LL57 2DW
Telephone number
0845 1306229
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