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Case study

Review of the impacts of climate on species

Our climate is changing, and there is compelling scientific evidence that animals and plants have been affected, with those that migrate between different areas potentially being the most affected.

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) (together with its daughter Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding) is the primary international instrument for migratory species conservation.

At the 8th Conference of Parties (CoP), the UK Government proposed that CMS should take account of climate change in developing conservation actions. BTO led a global multi-taxa review of the impacts of climate on species listed in the CMS Annexes (ranging from fish to large mammals), convening an international panel of experts to provide additional information and assess the final report, which was subsequently published in the peer-reviewed literature.

This study provided the basis for CMS to adopt a resolution (UNEP/CMS/Res.8.13) to that effect. BTO then undertook further work, proposing a suite of Indicators by which the impacts of climate change on migratory species could be tracked. The resulting documentation was presented to, and taken forward by, the succeeding CoP (UNEP/CMS/Conf9.24).