Balancing conservation and climate change – a methodology using existing data demonstrated for twelve UK priority habitats

M. Sozanska-Stanton*, P. D. Carey, G. H. Griffiths, I. N. Vogiatzakis, J. Treweek, B. Butcher, M. B. Charlton, C. Keenleyside, N. W. Arnell, G. Tucker, P. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Mitigation of climate change (CC) is a regulating ecosystem service provided by priority habitats that is often co-delivered alongside their conservation of biodiversity. Carefully planned conservation management is thought necessary to support biodiversity adaptation to CC, but could also contribute to CC mitigation. This paper presents a methodology for assessing direct emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG: CO2, CH4 and N2O) from 12 UK priority habitats in 26 Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) using readily available data. Background emissions are estimated on the basis of published field research. The contribution of conservation management to GHG emission reduction is estimated using the IPCC GHG accounting methodology and other methods. Management Data Acquisition surveys carried out at selected SACs provided data on management practises for Scotland and Wales. Climate change mitigation actions identified in this study for priority habitats included livestock removal or change in stocking density, with GHG reduction potential of up to 3 tCO2e/animal/year, afforestation of acid grasslands—up to 19.4 tCO2e/ha/year, wetland restoration—0.3–0.8 tCO2e/ha/year and cessation of moorland burning—6.9 tCO2e/ha/year. Estimated GHG emissions from priority habitats can be used to identify win:win management options that co-deliver GHG mitigation, climate adaptation and conservation benefits for consideration by policy makers and conservation managers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-89
Number of pages14
JournalJournal for Nature Conservation
Volume30
Early online date3 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Conservation
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Management
  • Priority habitats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Sozanska-Stanton, M., Carey, P. D., Griffiths, G. H., Vogiatzakis, I. N., Treweek, J., Butcher, B., Charlton, M. B., Keenleyside, C., Arnell, N. W., Tucker, G., & Smith, P. (2016). Balancing conservation and climate change – a methodology using existing data demonstrated for twelve UK priority habitats. Journal for Nature Conservation , 30, 76-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2016.01.005