Indicator Assessment

Change in species diversity as a result of climate change - outlook from EEA

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-55-en
  Also known as: Outlook 004
Published 08 Jun 2007 Last modified 11 May 2021
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Significant changes in the distribution of plant species in Europe are expected by 2100 due to increase of global temperature by about 3.10C. Such temperature increase going to be well above the long-term sustainable objective set in the 6th EAP. The Southwestern part and the most Eastern part (Russia) of Europe may suffer the highest changes in biodiversity; the loss of species might exceed 50 % by 2050. By 2100 most European Member States are expected to lose more than 50 species compared with the 1995 situation.

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Impact of climate change on number of plant species, 2100

Note: N/A

Data source:

EEA European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change: National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) + Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), 2003-2004. Dataset: IMAGE/EuroMove models

Impact of climate change on number of plant species (in 2100 under the 'Low GHG emissions' scenario)

Note: .

Data source:

EEA European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change: National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) + Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), 2003-2004. Dataset: IMAGE/EuroMove models.

Human consumption of food, energy, and timber leads to emissions to the atmosphere, shifts in land use and cover, and changes in the fluxes of gases from the terrestrial environment influences global climate. This significantly influences biodiversity and plant distribution. Related factors include recreation growth, intensification of agricultural production, use of natural resources, and introduction of non-indigenous species.

The outlook assesses the effects on ecosystem composition in terms of the number of plant species. The following trends are expected for the plant species diversity:


  • In 2010 the Europe will not change considerably as a result of climate change. In most parts of Northern and Western Europe the percentage of stable species is between 80 and 100 % indicating stability. In parts of the Iberian Peninsula, France and Eastern Europe the percentage of stable species is less than 80 %, which may indicate a loss of biodiversity ( from description sheet of Euromove).
  • The change of biodiversity between 1990 and 2050 is very pronounced. In large parts of Europe less than 80 % of the species will remain at the same locations. The Southwestern part and the most Eastern part (Russia) of Europe may suffer the highest changes in biodiversity; the loss of species might exceed 50 %. The biodiversity in the Northern part of Europe (Scandinavia), the Eastern part of Middle Europe (Poland) and Ireland and Scotland remains more or less stable during that period. The percentage of stable species in Western Europe is between 65 and 80 %. (from description sheet of Euromove)
  • By 2100 (except CIS): significant changes in the distribution of plant species in Europe are expected during the century, particularly in the south-east. Most European Member States are expected to lose more than 50 species compared with the 1995 situation. The Scandinavian and Baltic countries are expected to gain significant numbers of new species, probably, as a result of higher temperatures and precipitation resulting from climate change. However, the pattern of the number of species gained is not expected to clearly follow the geographical location of countries and associated climates. (from EEA outlook)

Supporting information

Indicator definition

Definition: The indicator represents number of species gained and lost as a result of climate change.

Model used: EUROMOVE

Ownership:  European Environment Agency

Temporal coverage: 2100

Geographical coverage: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus, Czech republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Lichtenshtain, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Swetzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, United Kingdom


Number of species


Policy context and targets

Context description

There is a strong need for an indicator to show the status of biodiversity in Europe. Such an indicator should be closely linked to the following policy objectives expressed at both European and global level.

Global policy context

At the global level, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and in particular the Strategic Plan for the Convention commits the Parties to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level. This target was endorsed in 2002 by two major global environmental meetings; firstly the Ministerial Declaration at COP6 to the CBD and secondly the World Summit on Sustainable Development in its Plan of Implementation (2002).

Pan-European policy context

On the Pan-European level, the Kiev resolution on Biodiversity was adopted during the fifth ministerial conference on Environment for Europe in 2003. It reinforces the objective to halt the loss of biodiversity at all levels by the year 2010.

European level

At European level, the Council of the European Union adopted the European Strategy for Sustainable Development in 2001. One of the objectives of the Strategy was "to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010". In June 2004, the EU Environment Council welcomed the set of biodiversity indicators referred to in the "Message from Malahide" and based on the first set of indicators adopted under the Convention on biological diversity earlier that year. 

Other political instruments in Europe are also focusing on biodiversity. These include the 6th Environmental Action Programme and the European Community Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

EECCA policy context

Development and implementation of national strategies and plans concerning bidoversity is the object for the governments of EECCA region.


EU level

  • To half the loss of biodiversity by 2010

EECCA level

  • To develop national strategies concerning biodiversity

Links to other related policies

EECCA Environmental Strategy

Related policy documents



Methodology for indicator calculation

Calculations of the indicator are based on the Euromove model.

Overview of the Euromove model

Euromove is a species-based model using logistic regression equations to calculate occurence probabilities for almost 1400 European vascular plant species. The equations are based on six climatic variables from IMAGE (including climatic temperature data) and species data from the Atlas Flora Europaeae (AFE) (Jalas and Suominen 1989; Ascroft 1994). In the Euromove model (Bakkenes et al., 2002) a threshold probability value for each species have been determined to transform calculated probabilities into absent-present states.

The model is easy to use and makes use of all available digital information on plant species in Europe.  The indicator recognizes climate change as the major determining factor of plant distribution. The indicator gives insight in the potential loss of plant biodiversity due to climate change.

A global biodiversity assessment model: GLOBIO3

The GLOBIO3 model has been developed to assess human-induced changes in biodiversity, in the past, present and future at regional and global scales. The model is built on simple cause-effect relationships between environmental drivers and biodiversity impacts, based on state-of-the-art knowledge. The mean abundance of original species relative to their abundance in undisturbed ecosystems (MSA) is used as the indicator for biodiversity. Changes in drivers are derived from the IMAGE 2.4 model. Drivers considered are land-cover change, land-use intensity, fragmentation, climate change, atmospheric nitrogen deposition, and infrastructure development. GLOBIO3 addresses (i) the impacts of environmental drivers on MSA and their relative importance; (ii) expected trends under various future scenarios; and, (iii) the likely effects of various policy response options. GLOBIO3 has been used successfully in several integrated regional and global assessments.

Three different global-scale policy options have been evaluated, on their potential to reduce MSA loss. These options are: climate-change mitigation through expanded use of bio-energy, an increase in plantation forestry, and an increase in protected areas. We conclude that MSA loss is likely to continue during the coming decades. Plantation forestry may help to reduce the rate of loss, whereas climate-change mitigation through the extensive use of bioenergy crops will, in fact, increase this rate of loss. The protection of 20% of all large ecosystems leads to a small reduction in the rate of loss, provided that protection is effective and that currently degraded protected areas are restored.

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Methodology for gap filling


Methodology references

No methodology references available.



Methodology uncertainty

Factors that affect biodiversity, such as land use change, habitat loss, and fragmentation are not considered. For this reason, the results may differ from the actual future distribution. It can be proposed additional modules to complete prediction on these and other aspects. The use of the model and the indicator in a policy context is therefore limited, although the methodology has potential application to predict responses of keystone species.

Data sets uncertainty

Data quality is not consistently robust across Europe, particularly in Russia, and to a lesser extent in Spain and southern Italy.

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • Outlook 004
EEA Contact Info


Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage


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