Managing such a project makes use of an exhaustive state-of-the art review, a networking initiative and a data modelling process. The approach consists thereby in carrying out a comprehensive investigation of methodologies that focus on impacts of climate change on biodiversity and in setting up an inventory of related measures for adaptation, mitigation and conservation. Several research organisations throughout Europe (Germany, France, Sweden, UK, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Italy, Finland and Spain) and South Africa have joined to combine their expertise for achieving this task.
To increase the knowledge dealing with impacts of climate change on biodiversity (e.g. plant,
birds and butterfly distributions), numerous existing models that address biodiversity, geographical distribution of species, landscape and habitat, are assessed. This first benchmarking step enables researchers to define a complete database and to refine information. A particular focus is made on high risk areas where huge endeavours are required to conserve biodiversity and on key-zones (such as Alpine ecosystems, Mediterranean shrubs and grasslands). Based on this fine-tuning, a comparison between fine scale and large scale models can be carried out. From then on, a robust model can be obtained, i.e. with high resolution on large spatial scales. In a second step, a comprehensive review of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures is performed. The combination and the retrieval of datasets coming from these measures lead to establish which of these actions are likely to affect biodiversity.
When these complex consequences of climate change on biodiversity have been highlighted, their understanding heralds an entirely new support scheme for policies that aim at preventing or minimising the related adverse impacts. In that way, strategic planning efforts to support the biological diversity at both European and national levels can benefit from this large-scale analysis. To enable policy makers to improve their approaches, another crucial output of the project consists in identifying strengths and weaknesses of current measures. By using the so-developed models, an assessment of conservation measures (such as assumptions, scale and robustness) is performed, especially to point out possible conflicts between them. With regard to these measures, the particular role of reserves in conserving biodiversity (e.g. NATURA 2000 network) is also evaluated.
As far as the analysis of existing measures is concerned, new policy options are provided to prevent and minimise negative impacts of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures on biodiversity and aiming at a win-win-win strategy for all three aspects. These options handle a landscape-scale approach by providing measures that consider dynamic systems and by improving connectivity, rather than preserving existing assets.
Links with other sectorial planning policies such as sustainable water cycle achievement, transport and energy are also examined. Recommendations are mature and based upon state-of-the art models so that the Technology Readiness Level is 9 on the TRL scale.
Outcomes of the project are of interest for policy makers of member states as well as at EU level by delivering good practices that should benefit the biological diversity throughout the European continent.