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Range shifts in forest tree species due to climate change have been observed towards higher altitudes and latitudes. These changes considerably affect the forest structure and the functioning of forest ecosystems and their services.
Future climate change and increasing CO2 concentrations are expected to affect site suitability, productivity, species composition and biodiversity. In general, forest growth is projected to increase in northern Europe and to decrease in southern Europe, but with substantial regional variation. Cold-adapted coniferous tree species are projected to lose large fractions of their ranges to more drought-adapted broadleaf species.
The projected changes will have an impact on the goods and services that forests provide. For example, the value of forest land in Europe is projected to decrease between 14 and 50 % during the 21st century.
Fire risk depends on many factors, including climatic conditions, vegetation, forest management practices and other socio-economic factors.
The burnt area in the Mediterranean region increased from 1980 to 2000; it has decreased thereafter.
In a warmer climate, more severe fire weather and, as a consequence, an expansion of the fire-prone area and longer fire seasons are projected across Europe. The impact of fire events is particularly strong in southern Europe.
Burnt area in five southern European countries
Current state of forest fire danger
Projected state of forest fire danger
Past trend of forest fire danger
Projected changes in forest fire danger
Projected change in climatic suitability for broadleaf and needleleaf trees
The timing of seasonal events has changed across Europe. A general trend towards earlier spring phenological stages (spring advancement) has been shown in many plant and animal species, mainly due to changes in climate conditions.
As a consequence of climate-induced changes in plant phenology, the pollen season starts on average 10 days earlier than it did and is longer than it was in the 1960s.
The life cycles of many animal groups have advanced in recent decades, with events occurring earlier in the year, including frogs spawning, birds nesting and the arrival of migrant birds and butterflies. This advancement is attributed primarily to a warming climate.
The breeding season of many thermophilic insects (such as butterflies, dragonflies and bark beetles) has been lengthening, allowing, in principle, more generations to be produced per year.
The observed trends are expected to continue into the future. However, simple extrapolations of current phenological trends may be misleading because the observed relationship between temperature and phenological events may change in the future.
Observed climate change is having significant impacts on the distribution of European flora and fauna, with distribution changes of several hundred kilometres projected over the 21st century. These impacts include northwards and uphill range shifts, as well as local and regional extinctions of species.
The migration of many species is lagging behind the changes in climate owing to intrinsic limitations, habitat use and fragmentation, and other obstacles, suggesting that they are unable to keep pace with the speed of climate change. Observed and modelled differences between actual and required migration rates may lead to a progressive decline in European biodiversity.
Climate change is likely to exacerbate the problem of invasive species in Europe. As climatic conditions change, some locations may become more favourable to previously harmless alien species, which then become invasive and have negative impacts on their new environments.
Climate change is affecting the interaction of species that depend on each other for food or other reasons. It can disrupt established interactions but also generate novel ones.
The map shows the projected change in the climatic suitable area for the Bumblebee Bombus terrestris (the largest and one of the most numerous bumblebee species in Europe) under the combined climate-land use scenario SEDG (Sustainable European Development Goal, including SRES B1) and GRAS (including SRES A2).
Trends in spring phenology
Trend in thermophilic species in bird and butterfly communities
Projected change in climatically suitable areas for bumblebees
The European Red Lists of species is a review of the conservation status of more than 10 000 European species (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater and marine fishes, butterflies, dragonflies, freshwater molluscs, selected groups of beetles, terrestrial molluscs, vascular plants including medicinal plants, bees, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets), according to IUCN regional Red Listing guidelines applied to the EU28 and to the Pan-European level.
New in the 2016 version of the database is the inclusion of European Red List of grasshoppers, locusts and crickets.
Substantial progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, air and other pollutants, and improving energy and material efficiency, needs to be complemented by more actions by EU Member States to fully apply agreed-to policies to better protect biodiversity, natural resources, and people’s health. These are the key findings of a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report which reviews key trends and outlook towards achieving EU 2020 environmental objectives.
The European inventory of nationally designated areas holds information about protected areas and the national legislative instruments, which directly or indirectly create protected areas.
The features are checked against OGC simple feature specifications rules with GEOS 3.5.0. libraries.
Progress towards the 2020 target of improving the conservation status of habitats covered by the EU Habitats Directive has not been substantial since 2010. This indicates that significant conservation efforts need to be implemented to revert current trends.
At the EU level, only 16 % of the assessments of habitats protected under the Habitats Directive have a favourable conservation status.
Bogs, mires and fens have the highest proportion of unfavourable assessments, followed closely by grasslands.
Conservation status trends are quite variable across biogeographic regions, however, more habitats are stable than decreasing in the terrestrial regions. There are still significant gaps in knowledge on marine habitat types.
At the EU Member State level, the majority of assessments indicate a low number of habitats with a favourable conservation status.
This widget will force display only of latest versions of the datasets.
For references, please go to http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/biodiversity/dm or scan the QR code.
PDF generated on 24 Jan 2017, 04:21 AM
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