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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Species interactions

Species interactions

Contents
 

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)

Justification for indicator selection

The impacts of climate change on single species can lead to disruptions or alterations of currently existing species interactions such as competition, herbivory, predation, parasitism, pollination and symbiosis. These interactions are affected because different species adapt their phenology (i.e. the timing of annual events) and their distributional range differently in response to climate change. Climate change can also affect disturbance regimes, such as wildfires and storms. These higher-level biodiversity impacts are of particular importance since biodiversity, besides being realised as a value in its own right, is increasingly acknowledged as providing indispensable ecosystems services for human well-being. Biodiversity can be regarded as ‘our collective life insurance’, as noted in the ‘EU biodiversity strategy to 2020’.

An improved understanding of how climate change will affect species interactions in novel communities established under a novel climate can be utilised to assess the extinction risk of species of particular conservation concern. It will also enhance our abilities to assess and mitigate potential negative effects on ecosystem functions and services. Despite increasing knowledge about effects of climate change on pairwise species interactions and on complete ecological networks, quantitative assessments of these effects are still very uncertain.

Scientific references:

Indicator definition

  • Projected spatial mismatches of the Portuguese Dappled White butterfly and its host plants

Units

  • Suitable area [dimensionless]

Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2013 the European Commission presented the EU Adaptation Strategy Package (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/adaptation/what/documentation_en.htm). This package consists of the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change /* COM/2013/0216 final */ and a number of supporting documents. One of the objectives of the EU Adaptation Strategy is Better informed decision-making, which should occur through Bridging the knowledge gap and Further developing Climate-ADAPT as the ‘one-stop shop’ for adaptation information in Europe. Further objectives include Promoting action by Member States and Climate-proofing EU action: promoting adaptation in key vulnerable sectors. Many EU Member States have already taken action, such as by adopting national adaptation strategies, and several have also prepared action plans on climate change adaptation.

The European Commission and the European Environment Agency have developed the European Climate Adaptation Platform (Climate-ADAPT, http://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/) to share knowledge on observed and projected climate change and its impacts on environmental and social systems and on human health; on relevant research; on EU, national and subnational adaptation strategies and plans; and on adaptation case studies.

Targets

No targets have been specified.

Related policy documents

  • Climate-ADAPT: Mainstreaming adaptation in EU sector policies
    Overview of EU sector policies in which mainstreaming of adaptation to climate change is ongoing or explored
  • Climate-ADAPT: National adaptation strategies
    Overview of activities of EEA member countries in preparing, developing and implementing adaptation strategies
  • DG CLIMA: Adaptation to climate change
    Adaptation means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage they can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise. It has been shown that well planned, early adaptation action saves money and lives later. This webportal provides information on all adaptation activities of the European Commission.
  • EU Adaptation Strategy Package
    In April 2013 the European Commission adopted an EU strategy on adaptation to climate change which has been welcomed by the EU Member States. The strategy aims to make Europe more climate-resilient. By taking a coherent approach and providing for improved coordination, it will enhance the preparedness and capacity of all governance levels to respond to the impacts of climate change.

Key policy question

How is climate change affecting food networks and other species interactions, and what are the implications for biodiversity?

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Ecological niche models (generalized linear models) for 36 European butterfly species and their larval host plants based on climate and land-use data were developed. The future distributional changes using three integrated global change scenarios for 2080 were projected. Observed and projected mismatches in potential butterfly niche space and the niche space of their hosts were first used to assess changing range limitations due to interacting species and then to investigate the importance of different ecological characteristics.

Methodology for gap filling

Not applicable

Methodology references

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

Not applicable

Data sets uncertainty

Available methods for incorporating species interactions, population dynamics and dispersal processes into models of range shifts are still very coarse, despite several recent approaches to incorporate these.

Further information on uncertainties is provided in Section 1.7 of the EEA report on Climate change, impacts, and vulnerability in Europe 2012 (http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/climate-impacts-and-vulnerability-2012/).

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

Ownership

European Environment Agency (EEA)

Identification

Indicator code
CLIM 026
Specification
Version id: 2
Primary theme: Climate change Climate change

Permalinks

Permalink to this version
fd26a2e5f1d44495b4c9d7ace5a9fe71
Permalink to latest version
RS7368KQFP

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 4 years in October-December (Q4)

Classification

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

Related content

Data references used

Latest figures and vizualizations

Relevant policy documents

Geographical coverage

[+] Show Map

Document Actions

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