Assessing Welsh marine feature climate change vulnerability

Using the latest climate projections and marine habitat spatial data to assess Annex I marine habitat features.

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

Natural Resources Wales (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.

ABPmer has been commissioned by NRW to assess the vulnerability of Annex I marine habitat features to climate change, to help inform future climate-related management and site adaptation options.

Using a number of climate change scenarios, as well as information on the potential influences of management measures, we undertook a comprehensive vulnerability assessment of the marine features.

We developed a method for assessing the 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 also informed the assessment.

Outputs of the study included a technical report 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.

ABPmer routinely advises marine sectors on regulatory and policy matters and has a long history supporting government and its agencies in developing the evidence base against which policy decisions are made.

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