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ABPmer to assess climate change vulnerability of Welsh Annex I marine features

A method for assessing the features will be developed using the latest climate projections and spatial data on marine habitats in Wales.

ABPmer has been commissioned by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to assess the vulnerability of Annex I marine habitat features to climate change.

Annex I habitat features, listed under the EU Habitats Directive, are considered most in need of conservation at a European level, and are designated within Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).

NRW is seeking to identify any likely future changes to Annex I marine habitat feature vulnerability, condition and/or extent resulting from climate change pressures. This will in turn help inform future climate-related management and site adaptation options.

ABPmer will develop a method for assessing the vulnerability of Annex I marine features, using the latest climate projections and spatial data on marine habitats in Wales. Current knowledge on the sensitivities of features to physical (e.g. temperature, turbidity and sea level rise) and chemical (e.g. pH, salinity) pressures as a result of climate change will inform the assessment.

Stephen Hull, ABPmer marine policy specialist, said:

“We are delighted to support NRW with this important project that will inform their future management of these designated areas.
We will use a number of climate change scenarios, as well as information on the potential influences of management measures, to undertake a comprehensive vulnerability assessment of marine features.”

ABPmer will deliver a technical report to NRW identifying climate change impacts and the vulnerability of features within the Welsh SAC network, as well as the GIS and data layer outputs developed to underpin the assessment.

The project is expected to complete in March 2021.