Climate Change Adaptation

Aims and scope

Climate change is already affecting Europe’s ecosystems, and potentially severe effects on biodiversity and ecosystem function can be expected in the future. It is important for nature conservation to take climate change better into account, in order to help the natural environment adapt to a world that appears likely to be much more dynamic and unpredictable. In addition, nature conservation has an important role in helping humans adapt to climate change, and in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Climate change increases the need for a cross-European approach to conservation, for example because of likely shifts in species’ ranges and the increased need to manage large scale ecosystem processes, such as hydrology, that cross national borders. While there is still a lot we do not know about the effects of climate change on the natural environment, and about appropriate adaptation strategies, there is great potential to share information among the different European countries and to learn from each other’s approaches and experiences.

The ENCA Climate Change Group was established in 2009 to help address these issues. The group is chaired by Natural England.

Group members

The group currently includes people from conservation agencies in Austria, Czech Republic, England, Finland, Germany, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway and Wales.

We would like to involve a larger number of people and expand our geographical coverage to other European countries. 

Anyone with an interest in climate change and nature conservation/biodiversity is welcome to take part in online meetings (and to volunteer as a speaker). We welcome participants from government, non-government and research organisations. Please contact Nicholas Macgregor ( or Simon Duffield (

Upcoming events

There are currently no planned events.

Reports available

The group has produced a series of reports (often summarising information and conclusions from workshops and conferences we have held).

  •  “Helping ecosystems in Europe to adapt to climate change" (2014). This report contains practical advice on how nature conservation measures may support main European ecosystems to adapt to climate change, a critical reflection on heavily discussed concepts of adaptation (like "connectivity" and "translocation") as well as the results of a survey on climate adaptation planning and conservation measures conducted across European conservation projects
  • “Climate change in nature conservation in Europe: an ecological, policy and economic perspective” (2014). The proceedings of a major international conference organised by BfN, ENCA and the Free University of Berlin in 2013
  • “Proceedings of the European Conference on Biodiversity and Climate Change – Science, Practice and Policy” (2012). Proceedings of an international conference organised by BfN and ENCA in 2011
  • “Working with Nature to Tackle Climate Change” (2010). This is a report on an ENCA / BfN Workshop on developing ecosystem-based approaches to climate change held in 2009

All of these are available to download from the  Bundesamt für Naturschutz (BfN) climate change site 

Recent events

International conference 'Biodiversity and Climate change', Autumn 2015

A conference jointly organised by BfN and ENCA on biodiversity and climate change was held in Germany in autumn 2015.  

International conference ‘Climate change and nature conservation in Europe: an ecological, policy and economic perspective’; Bonn, 2013

This conference was co-organised by BfN, ENCA and the Free University of Berlin, and followed an earlier BfN-ENCA climate change conference in 2011. The 2013 conference was a great success, bringing together more than 150 people from more than 20 different countries. The conference featured talks by a range of leading thinkers and researchers in the field of conservation, including. It also included interactive workshop sessions that were designed to focus specifically on identifying action that should be taken to put adaptation into practice in different European ecosystems, to foster better adaptation planning, and to promote better communication.

Workshop on implementing adaptation in nature conservation; Edinburgh, 2011

In 2011, we held an expert workshop to discuss in detail some of the issues involved in putting climate change adaptation into practice. About 35 people attended, from seven European countries. The workshop consisted of 

i) a series of short talks focusing mainly on practical adaptation action that is already taking place, or being planned, in conservation projects; and

ii) detailed discussions about climate change issues, appropriate adaptation objectives, and actions that should be taken, in each of the following broad ecosystem types: mountains and arctic; forests and woodlands; freshwater ecosystems; and coasts. 


International conference on biodiversity and climate change; Bonn, 2011

In 2011, we supported our German member agency, Bundesamt für Naturschutz (BfN), in organising an international conference on biodiversity and climate change.

The aim of the event was to share knowledge and experiences among European scientists, conservation practitioners and policymakers, to improve both the integration of research outputs into practical conservation projects and the identification of further research needs. The event brought together 210 participants from 22 European and four non-European countries.  Talks and posters at the conference covered a wide range of topics, including impacts research, vulnerability assessment, adaptation strategies, ecological networks and ecosystem services; and a wide range of geographical regions and ecosystem types – including subarctic, alpine, marine, peatland, forest, and river catchments. The conference also covered some international topics, such as REDD+ and the German International Climate Initiative. The conference programme, list of participants, and PDF copies of most of the talk slides can be found at the following link:

The group developed a set of conclusions and recommendations based on the information that emerged from the conference. These recommendations can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.


Workshop on ecosystem based adaptation and mitigation; Vilm, 2009

The group held a workshop on ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation in June 2009, in Vilm, Germany. The report from this workshop, which includes some short case studies, can be downloaded from this page. 

Cooperation with other groups and networks
We work with the climate change group in the EPA (European Environment Protection Agencies) network. A joint meeting between the two groups was held in September 2011, in Scotland.

Our group has links with the Bern Convention Group of Experts on Biodiversity and Climate Change.

The group was also represented on the advisory group for the European Environment Agency’s recent climate change report

November 2014
Amanda Gregory,
15 Jul 2015, 06:08