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Reporting on the impacts of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity

New Report Card aimed at policy makers, land managers, environmental consultants and researchers draws on analyses of ECN data.
Reporting on the impacts of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity

© LWEC Partnership

The Living With Environmental Change Partnership (LWEC) has launched the first in a series of report cards providing up-to-date and agreed evidence to help people understand and manage climate change impacts. Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Impacts: Report Card 2012-13 is a 'click-through' expert report which aims to advise government policy makers, land managers, environmental consultants and researchers who need to know what the current evidence indicates and make decisions relating to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Report Card draws on a wide range of evidence sources, including published analyses of ECN data, and from findings of Defra’s BICCO-Net project (led by the British Trust for Ornithology) to which ECN also contributed.

The publication provides an overview of how climate change is affecting UK biodiversity and potential future changes based on the latest scientific evidence and understanding. It shows where observed changes in UK biodiversity are likely to have been caused by changes in the UK climate over recent decades . It also assesses potential future impacts of climate change on biodiversity. The Report Card summarises 15 technical papers that were commissioned from leading experts. Each technical paper covered a separate topic and was peer-reviewed by experts. The technical papers, which include supporting evidence and sections on knowledge gaps and confidence assessments, can be accessed via links in the Report Card.

The project has been overseen by a working group of senior scientists. Both the card itself and the review papers that support it have been peer-reviewed to ensure scientific rigour and that the consensus view of the scientific community is represented.

Among the ECN-related papers cited as evidence are:

  • Brooks, D.R., et al. (2012) Large carabid beetle declines in a United Kingdom monitoring network increases evidence for a widespread loss in insect biodiversity. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49, 1009-1019.
  • Pozsgai, G. & Littlewood, N.A. (2011). Changes in the phenology of the ground beetle Pterostichus madidus. Insect Science, 18, 462-472.
  • Morecroft, M.D., et al. (2009). The UK Environmental Change Network: Emerging trends in the composition of plant and animal communities and the physical environment. Biological Conservation 142, 2814-2832.
  • Scott, W.A., Pithart, D. & Adamson, J.K. (2008). Long-term United Kingdom trends in the breeding phenology of the Common Frog, Rana temporaria. Journal of Herpetology, 42, 89-96.
  • Morecroft, M.D., et al. (2002). Effects of drought on contrasting insect and plant species in the UK in the mid-1990s. Global Ecology and Biogeography 11, 7-22.


To read more about the Report Card and to download a copy, see the LWEC website.

Further information

  • The project was funded by Defra and the Natural Environment Research Council and managed by Natural England, working with the Environment Agency. Development of the Report Card was led by Dr Mike Morecroft of Natural England. Mike was previously ECN's Research Coordinator and site manager at ECN Wytham (run by the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology).
  • ECN sites continue to make important contributions to the national scientific evidence base for assessments of this kind, and are particularly valuable in that they provide co-located measurements of the physical environment (i.e. weather data) and data on a range of animal and plant groups. Currently data from both terrestrial and freshwater networks are being analysed with the BICCO-Net2 project as a follow up to the original programme.