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Climate Change refugia workshop

Workshop image: Jenny Hodgson

Taking refuge from climate warming: how can we help our wildlife?

Conservation policymakers and practitioners recently joined researchers from the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and other institutions at a workshop in London to discuss the conservation potential of ‘microclimatic refugia’ - a novel idea for climate change adaptation.

At the workshop, conservation professionals heard from a number of experts in conservation policy and science, including the ESI's Dr John Hopkins, Dr Jonathan Bennie, Dr Ilya Maclean and Dr Andrew Suggitt. The group highlighted the potential for microclimates to provide refugia for a number of species with conservation value, whilst describing new and exciting developments in modelling and analysing fine-scale patterns of climate.

The workshop also afforded time for open discussion, an opportunity which was seized with real gusto by all present. The breakout sessions generated genuinely interesting discussions on the best way forward, whilst giving conservation practitioners a chance to suggest ideas for the science they would like to see undertaken.

The ESI team will be taking forward many of these ideas in a new £80k project in partnership with Natural England, looking into climate change refugia for wild species in England.

Speaking after the event, Dr Andrew Suggitt said: ‘This workshop was a great opportunity to gather together all the expertise on microclimate, and  most importantly, to get them talking about how we might be able to exploit patches of cooler or wetter habitat to conserve species facing substantial climatic warming.’

The ESI has been enabled by investment from the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£22.9 million) and the South West Regional Development Agency (£6.6 million), as well as significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Click here for more information about the microclimatic refugia workshop.

Date: 6 December 2012

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