‘Adapting conservation to a changing climate’ conference makes headway at the BES

Climate change is cited as one of the major future threats to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem function. As a result, the need to adapt practical conservation measures to cope with the pressures of a changing climate have become increasingly relevant when making policy decisions.

To address this issue, The BES joined forces with Natural England to organise a conference titled ‘Adapting conservation to a changing climate’. The conference was held last week at The BES in London from the 11th-12th January 2011, and represented an exciting opportunity to explore how conservation can assist adaptation to, and mitigation of climate change in the UK.

The conference joined researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to review the current research findings, and provide a forum for inter-disciplinary debate. UK and international representatives from leading organisations including Natural England, DEFRA, and a number of top universities were invited to speak on the topic, and encourage further discussion of the best ways forward.

A combination of presentations, posters, and workshops highlighted the increasing importance of climate change as a driver of biodiversity decline and ecosystem service loss. A large scale, ecosystem based approach to conservation was suggested for integration into land use planning and management to help mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. The creation of more, bigger, better and joined reserves was also discussed, and the social, political, and economic obstacles to this debated.

The two day event was well received by audiences and has helped provide a solid foundation for stepping up the pace when it comes to climate change by creating clear guidelines for future action. A report summarising the outcome of the conference will be published in due course.