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Biodiversity is Crucial in the Fight Against Climate Change - Gardiner 12/06/07

The crucial role of biodiversity in tackling climate change was today highlighted by Barry Gardiner, Biodiversity Minister, at an international conference at the Royal Society.

oilseed rape

Mr Gardiner launched, Biodiversity indicators in your pocket 2007, a set of 18 indicators which tracks the UK’s progress against international biodiversity targets. This is the first time that a comprehensive set of biodiversity indicators has been published for the UK. A specific indicator has been developed to monitor how changes in climate, particularly temperature, is influencing biodiversity.

Defra has also published a review of current research into climate change and biodiversity in England: “England Biodiversity Strategy: towards adaptation to climate change”. The report reviews the evidence of climate change on biodiversity in England and considers options for adapting policies to reduce these impacts. The evidence in the report on how temperature changes impact on biodiversity, also supports the findings of the biodiversity indicator on climate change.

Addressing the audience of leading global academics and policy officials, at the Biodiversity-Climate Interactions conference. Mr Gardiner said:

“Many people still talk about climate change as if it is only a long-term threat. But the fact is that it is already happening, and we need to deal with the realities of climate change and the problems it is creating for society and the environment today.

“But biodiversity is also one of our greatest weapons in the battle against climate change. So it is critical that any action plan to reduce climate change, includes the effective and sustainable management of our ecosystems” .

“The biodiversity indicators highlight just how vulnerable our precious biodiversity is to climate change. Despite long-term declines in the indicators for many species and habitats such as farmland birds and butterflies, there are some early signs of recovery or a slowing of the declines in some areas.”

James Williams, Reporting Standards Manager at the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) said:

“JNCC welcomes the publication of Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket 2007. These indicators are an essential first step towards measuring the 2010 target.”

Key findings of the Biodiversity Indicators:

  • There were very large declines in bird and butterfly populations in the 1970s and 80s but since 2000 these long term declines appear to have been arrested.
  • Since 2000, there have been improvements in the extent of protected areas, sustainable fisheries, sustainable woodland management, biological river quality and expenditure on both UK and global biodiversity.
  • The Spring Index shows that the mean dates of flowering of hawthorn, horse-chestnut and first sighting of the orange-tip butterfly were 10-12 days earlier between 1998-2006 compared with 1900-1947.

link SAC Energy Audits Help Reduce On-Farm Carbon Footprint
link Environmental Stewardship Schemes - Are You Compliant?
link Change one thing on World Environment Day

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