A new report from The Wildlife Trusts, the UK’s sixth largest landowner, outlines the radical steps required to help nature adapt to climate change. The Wildlife Trusts, which includes Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, are already providing innovative solutions to help wildlife adapt to the changing climate. Projects include regulating water flows, restoring grasslands to help wildlife cope with hotter, drier conditions, and initiatives to control invasive species.
Projected impacts on The Wildlife Trusts’ huge estate show the scale of climate crisis in an era of dramatic nature decline. Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is increasing action to cope with climate change-induced floods, fires, low river flows, high temperatures, coastal erosion, and drought.
Innovative projects are being employed to help nature adapt to change such as restoring entire landscapes, Action for Insects and rewetting the margins of water courses.
The new Changing Nature report revealed that society must help nature adapt to the climate crisis and be prepared to see wild places change in order to survive. The report examines the impacts of the changing climate across the country and assesses the risks. It looks ahead at what is needed to help nature adapt and survive in the future. The findings come at a time when the UK is already one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.
The research finds that, by the 2050s, under a future warming trajectory that reaches 3°C warming by 2100:
- Half of The Wildlife Trusts’ nature reserves will have 30+ days of very high fire risk yearly
- Almost all reserves will see more than 1°C increase on hot summer days by 2050
- 55% of reserves will see nearby river flows drop by more than 30% during times of low flow
The report shows how extreme weather is already affecting many Wildlife Trust reserves, including:
- Wildfires – have destroyed valuable and rare habitats, affecting the availability of food for wildlife, and costing huge amounts of time and money
- Flooding – has impacted wildlife, damaged infrastructure, and increased river pollution
- Droughts – have lowered the water table on wetland nature reserves, dried out chalk streams and wetlands and concentrated pollution in rivers
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and all Wildlife Trusts want to see increased effort from governments, business, and other landowners on climate adaptation, including greater investment in nature-based solutions and a specific focus on resilience.
Dr Gary Mantle, CEO of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust commented, “Climate change is contributing more and more to nature’s decline with devastating consequences for people and wildlife in Wiltshire. We are already stepping-up our efforts to restore habitats so that they benefit wildlife and are better able to store carbon. The Trust already captures and stores more carbon than it emits. The projected impact of climate change on our nature reserves is just the tip of the iceberg. We need people to join us in creating a new national vision for our landscapes because we can no longer focus only on restoring nature to a historical state; change is inevitable. A concerted effort is required to create more space for nature everywhere, enabling natural ecosystems to function properly, creating habitats for wildlife, and building diversity and flexibility for the future.
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is celebrating its 60th Anniversary of creating a sustainable future for wildlife and people. We are unique in the county in combining the management of 40 nature reserves and working with local communities to promote sustainable living. The Trust is supported by over 23,000 members and around 2,000 volunteers.”
For more information about the Trust please click here.