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Wildlife and climate change

Notes from the HKD Transition meet-up with presenter Laurie Jackson in April 

 

The impacts of climate change and shifting weather patterns:

  1. Species range shift – generally northwards and higher altitude. For some species this may be positive (see for example the newly colonising species below), for others negative because it restricts their range.

  2. Newly colonising species – we’re starting to see species nesting here and staying year round that have not been resident in the UK before.

  3. Changing vegetation – veteran trees in particular are being stressed by the heat.

  4. Changes in habitat association – Some species who are currently at the edge of their range will get more established. Others like bumblebees may need different habitat, more shade and shelter to protect from the heat.

  5. Changes in timing – one of the biggest problems is loss of synchronicity, e.g. flowers emerging before or after pollinators are there to pollinate them, or caterpillars not present when birds need them to feed chicks.

  6. Changes in rainfall – increased flooding affects ground-nesting birds. Drought affects wetland species.

  7. Interactions – with chemical agriculture, invasive species, loos of habitat due t farming practices and urbanisation, all of which reduce resilience of wildlife.

Climate change adaptation:

  • Plan

  • Be proactive not reactive

  • Cope with future variability

  • We are all part of the jigsaw.

What we can do?

  1. Accept and respect change

  2. Help nature adapt

  3. Welcome nature into urban areas

  4. Record and monitor

  5. Promote diversity

  6. Reinstate natural process, e.g. rivers and streams

  7. Keep striving

Top 3 things to do in our gardens:

  • Let it be scruffy – wildlife needs nettles, weeds, log piles etc

  • Link with your neighbours to create wildlife corridors (e.g. holes in fences to let hedgehogs roam)

  • Communities can change amenity green spaces to be more wildlife friendly (reduce mowing, encourage wildflowers)

Wildlife and climate change facts and figures. Click on icon to download