The impacts of climate change on global biodiversity

Climate change is projected to have a significant effect upon the future rate of biodiversity loss. There is therefore an urgent need to identify the key mechanisms underpinning climate change impacts on biodiversity in order to best select climate change adaptation strategies. It is also essential that the scale of these changes are clearly communicated to policy and decision-makers.

With these aims in mind, the Shared Challenges Programme convened meetings in early 2011 to discuss ways in which CCI could develop collaborative projects centred on climate change impacts on wildlife. These meetings led to the development of two CCI-funded projects (click on the links below to find out more about each one):

  1. ‘Mechanisms underpinning climate change impacts on global biodiversity’ (Collaborative Fund)
  2. ‘Developing a framework to inform climate change adaptation for global biodiversity’ (Workshop Fund)

During these meetings, CCI partners were also invited to help shape the agenda and provide recommendations of speakers at a conference on a related topic, organised by the RSPB in collaboration with Natural England and WWF-UK. The day-long conference, ‘Climate Change: Biodiversity and People on the Front Line’, took place at the Royal Society on the 9th November 2011 and its aim was to highlight the impacts of climate change on wildlife and people, now and in the future. A report based on this meeting can be found on the RSPB website.

Project Aims

The original aim of this project was to bring together people from across CCI with an interest in the way in which climate change impacts wildlife and the implications for adaptation, to discuss potential collaborative projects. As a result, two projects were funded by CCI, and the Programme has continued to support their activities and to contribute to the production of project outputs.

Key Activities

  • Two brainstorming meetings (2nd February 2011 and the 9th March 2011) discussed a potential application to the CCI Collaborative Fund for a project related to climate change impacts on species.
  • A follow-up meeting (9th March 2012) explored next steps and future collaborative opportunities stemming from the ongoing work.

Conservation Impact

Shared Challenges workshops helped to catalyze the development of two CCI-funded projects. These meetings also created a strong network of people interested in climate change impacts and adaptation and after the current projects have been completed, further opportunities for collaborative work will be explored. Guidance notes have been produced to help conservationists priorities actions to adapt to climate change, and will be promoted once a paper has been accepted for publication.


  1. Work on the CCI-funded projects is ongoing, and a number of outputs are being prepared, including a scientific paper, a poster presented at an international conference and a summary of the results targeted at policy makers.

CCI partners Involved

The Department of Plant Sciences' research spans plant and microbial sciences. Conservation-related work in the department includes forest ecology and conservation, tropical ecology, mathematical...
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and that take account of human needs....
British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an independent scientific research trust specialising in impartial evidence-based knowledge and advice about populations, movements and ecology of birds and...
The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. It helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment...

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
CCI Policy Brief: Climate change adaptation for biodiversity This Policy Brief was produced as an output of the CCI Strategic Workshop Funded project Developing a framework to inform climate change adaptation for global biodiversity. Suggested citation:CCI... Policy briefs
CCI Poster: Climate change adaptation for biodiversity This poster was produced and presented at the ‘Planet Under Pressure’ conference in London (March 2012). This poster was one of the outputs from the CCI Strategic Workshop Funded project Developing a... Policy briefs, Workshop proceedings