CASE STUDY NATIONAL TRUST
Assessing nature’s climate change vulnerability
Working with the National Trust to investigate the impacts of climate change on natural habitats, and identify key areas for climate adaptation.
The National Trust commissioned 3Keel to analyse the extent to which the priority habitats it owns are under threat from climate change. The outputs of the work were used to develop a public-facing report in response to the Committee on Climate Change’s land use policy advice to the UK Government.
3Keel developed a climate vulnerability framework for the Trust based on Natural England’s National Biodiversity Climate Change Vulnerability Model (NBCCVM). The framework and outputs, which were visualised in a business analytics platform, helped non-specialists explore habitat types, properties and sites that should be the focus of adaptation planning.
The analysis found that in total almost three quarters (73%) of the area of priority habitats on the National Trust estate was categorised as sensitive to climate change. Of this, 11% of the total area of priority habitats was highly sensitive. Half of all National Trust properties have habitats that are sensitive to climate change. The worst affected habitats were those on the coast, but also included rivers, lakes, lowland fens and upland habitats like heathlands.
As well as supporting an incredible array of wildlife—from endangered natterjack toads to otters, mountain hares and butterflies—the report also found that these precious habitats play an important part in halting the warming of the planet, safely locking away approximately 290,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
The Trust has a significant role to play in caring for these sites: 9% of all habitats in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that are highly sensitive to climate change are cared for by the charity, despite it only owning 1.5% of the total land area.
Patrick Begg, Director of Natural Resources at the National Trust, said: “Protecting, regenerating and extending these carbon stores could play a significant role in tackling climate change, which is the greatest threat to the hundreds of historic and natural places we look after at the Trust. As the condition of a river, a fen or a marsh degrades, its vulnerability to climate change increases, so it’s crucial that we look after these habitats.”
3Keel anticipates increasing focus on adaptation measures in the coming decade as the impacts of climate change become more apparent. For more information on our climate adaptation services please contact Richard Sheane, Climate Change lead at 3Keel LLP.