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“British Wildlife and Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation Measures on Specific Sites

This session will review actions on three contrasting sites, (ancient woodland, restored rivers, ecological networks) followed by a panel Question & Answer discussion chaired by Richard Clarke, Course Director of the Ecology and Conservation Programme, Birkbeck

“British Wildlife and Climate Change: Case Studies of Adaptation and Mitigation Measures on Specific Sites”

1. ‘Climate change and Burnham Beeches - work being carried out to adapt and mitigate’

Burnham Beeches NNR is one of the UK's most loved and visited ancient woodlands. The impact of climate change on its complex series of habitats may be relatively swift and profound. The work currently being carried out to mitigate and adapt to climate change will be outlined and its effectiveness and sufficiency discussed.
The role of the countryside manager to pioneer issues and influence regional and national decision makers is a 'growth industry' particularly with regard to planning frameworks, transportation plans and the management of projects at a landscape scale.
Andy Barnard’s interest in countryside management started in 1976 when, as an eighteen year old, he moved to the Peak District National Park. He joined the Park Ranger Service as a volunteer and then moved to part time and seasonal work. He left the Peak Park Ranger Service in 1983 to join the National Trust as the Area Warden for Edale. Here he had the privilege to manage the high moors of the Kinder Scout plateau as well as the Winnats Pass, Mam Tor and their associated hill farms.
Andy joined the City of London Corporation in 1996 as Superintendent of Burnham Beeches NNR. This role has given him the opportunity to manage one the Britain's best loved landscapes as well as expand his experience to include planning, sustainable building and transportation issues in the peri-urban environment, - the urban-rural transition zone.
He gained an MSc in Countryside Management from Manchester Metropolitan University (1996) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at Reading University (2000). He is a member of the City of London's Climate Change and Sustainability Working Parties and Chairman of the Biodiversity Working Group. Hobbies include photography, hill walking and working his sheepdogs.

2. ‘River restoration London: taking action to address climate change impacts on biodiversity’

Since 1999 approximately 1km of concrete river channel each year has been restored in London. A London wide target has now been agreed to restore 15km of river by 2015 and 25km by 2020. The current programme provides a practical example of how to respond to climate change. The lecture provides background on the development of the programme and discusses how the programme contributes to establishment of ecological resilience and develops the capacity for systems to adapt. The need to develop networks will be examined and the measures required to deliver a network will be discussed.
Dave Webb is a Conservation Technical Specialist for the Environment Agency. Having been involved in river restoration in London since the early 1990’s, Dave was responsible for the production of the South London River Restoration Strategy and has been directly involved in numerous restoration projects. Dave worked on secondment to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), providing scientific advice to policy divisions on a range of biodiversity issues, with particular emphasis on climate change, representing Defra on the MONARCH project steering group. More recently, Dave provided advice on the development environmental infra-structure policies in both the South East Plan and the Further Alterations to the London Plan. He is currently the Chair of the Rivers and Streams Habitat Action Plan, and is working on the development of a London Wide River Restoration Action Plan, as well as continuing to provide practical advice on restoration schemes in London and the South East.

3. ‘Landscape scale projects and ecological networks, can they form the basis for a nature conservation strategy against the backdrop of climate change?’

Whilst there is a strong scientific consensus that climate change is happening and even broad agreement on what the effects might be on a national to international scale, the effects at a regional or local scale are far more difficult to predict. A nature conservation strategy is therefore needed that might allow for greatest environmental adaptability even though the magnitude, nature or even the direction of any local change may not be known. Nature is robust and has responded to changes in the past (although it is arguable whether climate change was as rapid as that expected now), but the current fragmentary nature of habitats and ecosystems probably hinders wildlife movement and habitat adaptation. Thus, as climate changes, the inability of habitats to adapt may result in ecosystem degradation, resulting in significant species loss and possible breakdown in ecosystem services. Whilst recognizing that the science may be uncertain, it is suggested that an ecological network approach may offer the best insurance policy for our wildlife. This case study will look at ideas for an ecological network throughout Sussex and the South East and outline some work being done to develop larger more ecologically viable units within the area.
Dr Tony Whitbread is the Chief Executive of the Sussex Wildlife Trust. He started his career in nature conservation with the then Nature Conservancy Council initially working as a biological surveyor and then compiling Ancient Woodland Inventories for counties around England and Wales. Still in the NCC he later carried out National Vegetation Classification woodland surveys, in the process producing a summary of the woodland chapter, and assisted the NCC with survey and monitoring work following the 1987 storm. He then moved to the Royal Society for Nature Conservation to co-ordinate the response of the Wildlife Trusts to the storm and produced documents outlining some of the positive effects of natural disturbance. He joined the Sussex Wildlife Trust as Head of Conservation in 1991 and became Chief Executive in April 2006. He has an ongoing interest in woodland ecology including woodland dynamics, natural processes etc, and has represented the Wildlife Trusts on several woodland forums.


Andy Barnard | talks
Dave Webb | talks
Dr Tony Whitbread | talks


Date and Time:

16 November 2007 at 6:30 pm


2 hours



at a Birkbeck lecture theatre/University of London
020 7679 1069
Show map

Organised by:

Ecology and Conservation Studies Society
See other talks organised by Ecology and Conservation Studies Society...




Available from:

For free tickets and venue details, contact tel: 020 7679 1069, or e-mail: environment@fce.bbk.ac.uk

Additional Information:

For queries on lecture content, contact tel: 020 7485 7903, or e-mail: jeremy.wright@walkern.org.uk

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