Bennie J.,University of Exeters Environment
Planet Earth | Year: 2013
Jonathan Bennie explains what the impact of changing weather patterns on plants and animals could mean for conservation, and how monitoring the impact of tiny microclimates around paths or patches of vegetation could help endangered species cope. In many cases the difference between survival and extinction for a species will depend on its ability to disperse to regions of newly-suitable climate. To keep pace with climate change, it must found new populations as those within its old range dwindle and die out. In the UK, where talking about the weather is a national obsession, statistics showing decades of average warming are easily forgotten after front-page newspaper coverage of a disappointingly cool, wet summer bank holiday or a heavy spring snowfall. For wildlife too, the signal of climate change may seem to be swamped by the variation in weather. Understanding and managing how species respond to climate change may mean paying more attention to the variability and extremes of weather and microclimates which drive ecological processes.