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Species-ecosystem relationship

Indicator Specification Created 11 Jul 2008 Published 08 Sep 2008 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
Note: new version is available!
Topics: ,
Indicator codes: CLIM 026

Update planned for November 2012

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)
  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

Suitable climate is an important factor in determining the distribution of species and the composition and stability of ecosystems. For many animal species, a major constraint on successful colonization of new areas is the absence of ecologically-linked host plants (Schweiger et al., in press). Advancements in spring activity may result in asynchrony between food sources and breeding, causing starvation of young that emerge too early, and the disruption of predator-prey relationships. This so-called trophic mismatch has been demonstrated for various animal groups, including birds (Both et al., 2006), and in some cases is causing crashes or explosions in populations. Additionally, extreme events such as floods, drought and fire can disrupt ecosystems, preventing growth of key plant species and limiting nesting, breeding and feeding opportunities for animals.

Scientific references

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • Current potential niche space of the butterfly Titania fritillary (Boloria titania) and its host plant American bistort (Polygonum bistorta)
  • Relationship between projected distribution space of the butterfly Titania fritillary (Boloria titania) and its host plant American bistort (Polygonum bistorta) for 2080


Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see:


No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures


Methodology uncertainty

Data sets uncertainty

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Hans-Martin Füssel


Joint Research Centre (JRC)
European Environment Agency (EEA)


Indicator code
CLIM 026
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Climate change Climate change


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DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
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