IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

12.5.6 Biodiversity

Climate change threatens the assumption of static species ranges which underpins current conservation policy. The ability of countries to meet the requirements of EU Directives and other international conventions is likely to be compromised by climate change, and a more dynamic strategy for conservation is required for sustaining biodiversity (Araújo et al., 2004; Brooker and Young, 2005; Robinson et al., 2005; Harrison et al., 2006). Conservation strategies relevant to climate change can take at least two forms: in situ involving the selection, design and management of conservation areas (protected areas, nature reserves, NATURA 2000 sites, wider countryside), and ex situ involving conservation of germplasm in botanical gardens, museums and zoos. A mixed strategy is the translocation of species into new regions or habitats (e.g., Edgar et al., 2005). In Europe, appropriate in situ and ex situ conservation measures for mitigating climate change impacts have not yet been put in place. Conservation experts have concluded that an expansion of reserve areas will be necessary to conserve species in Europe. For example, Hannah et al. (2007) calculated that European protected areas need to be increased by 18% to meet the EU goal of providing conditions by which 1,200 European plant species can continue thriving in at least 100 km2 of habitat. To meet this goal under climate change they estimated that the current reserve area must be increased by 41%. They also point out that it would be more cost effective to expand protected areas proactively rather than waiting for climate change impacts to occur and then acting reactively. Dispersal corridors for species are another important adaptation tool (Williams et al., 2005), although large heterogeneous reserves that maximise microclimate variability might sometimes be a suitable alternative. Despite the importance of modifying reserve areas, some migratory species are vulnerable to loss of habitat outside Europe (e.g., Viner et al., 2006). For these migratory species, trans-continental conservation policies need to be put in place.

12.5.7 Agriculture and fisheries

Short-term adaptation of agriculture in southern Europe may include changes in crop species (e.g., replacing winter with spring wheat) (Mínguez et al., 2007), cultivars (higher drought resistance and longer grain-filling) (Richter and Semenov, 2005) or sowing dates (Olesen et al., 2007). Introducing new crops and varieties are also an alternative for northern Europe (Hildén et al., 2005), even if this option may be limited by soil fertility, e.g., in northern Russia. A feasible long-term adaptation measure is to change the allocation of agricultural land according to its changing suitability under climate change. Large-scale abandonment of cropland in Europe estimated under the SRES scenarios (Rounsevell et al., 2006) may provide an opportunity to increase the cultivation of bioenergy crops (Schröter et al., 2005). Moreover, Schröter et al. (2005) and Berry et al. (2006) found that different types of agricultural adaptation (intensification, extensification and abandonment) may be appropriate under different IPCC SRES scenarios and at different locations. It is indisputable that the reform of EU agricultural policies will be an important vehicle for encouraging European agriculture to adapt to climate change (Olesen and Bindi, 2002) and for reducing the vulnerability of the agricultural sector (Metzger et al., 2006).

At the small scale there is evidence that fish and shellfish farming industries are adapting their technology and operations to changing climatic conditions, for example, by expanding offshore and selecting optimal culture sites for shellfish cages (Pérez et al., 2003). However, adaptation is more difficult for smaller coastal-based fishery businesses which do not have the option to sail long distances to new fisheries as compared to larger businesses with long distance fleets. At the larger scale, adaptation options have not yet been considered in important policy institutions such as the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) although its production quotas and technical measures provide an ideal platform for such adaptation actions. Another major adaptation option is to factor the long-term potential impacts of climate change into the planning for new Marine Protected Areas (Soto, 2001). Adaptation strategies should eventually be integrated into comprehensive plans for managing coastal areas of Europe. However, these plans are lacking, especially around the Mediterranean, and need to be developed urgently (Coccossis, 2003).