Climate change might not be as bad as scientists predict – at least for a few species in the UK including wasps, bees, ants, Dartford warbler and emperor dragonfly – as these species may proliferate in the wild, says a new report from Nature England.
The report, which has been published in partnership with British Trust for Ornithology, University of York, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the RSPB, looks at the likely effects of climate change on insects, birds and other species across England.
Though the report is optimistic about the likely benefits of climate change on some species, it highlights that cuckoo, damp-loving mosses and liverworts are at risk from the increasing temperatures.
The report is the largest and one of the most comprehensive ones to assess the the potential shift in distribution of over 3,000 plants and animals that may occur in England in response to climate change.
According to the report some of the species which have a very high opportunity of expansion and are at very low risk of decline from climate change include avocet, black-tailed godwit, sanderling, grey plover, greenshank, teal, shelduck, shoveler, Slavonian grebe, brent goose, Dartford warbler, chough, and little egret.
On the other hand Sandwich tern, Arctic tern, LT duck, pochard, greylag goose, and curlew are at a very high risk of decline with very low possibility of expansion.
For the report, scientists looked at the possible locations where suitable climatic conditions for different species are likely to be found in 2080, while keeping in mind the 2°C increase in average global temperature. They found that over a quarter (27 per cent) of species were at high to medium risk of losing a substantial proportion of their currently suitable ranges. The surprising finding was that just over half (54 per cent) could possibly end up expanding their ranges; however, researchers say that this is an unlikely scenario owing to the fact that the species have a limited mobility or there is lack of suitable habitats across the country.
The researchers also looked at 400 species and the effect of climate change on these species in greater detail taking into consideration population trends, agricultural intensification or restriction to small, localised populations and found that 35 per cent of the species were at risk from climate change, while 42 per cent were likely to have opportunities to expand.
Researchers found that out of the 155 species which are currently listed as being of high conservation concern, 38 per cent are at the highest risk from climate change. Out of these 155 species, 39 per cent could potentially benefit from a changing climate.