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Conferences and Meetings

Climate change and birds: solutions to the crisis

 24 Nov 2020

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In conjunction with
British Trust for Ornithology
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Durham University
The planet is now experiencing the effects of current climate and ecological crises, with an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Future warming is projected to far exceed the current 1.5°C target, so the need to adapt to climate change is also critical.

This one-day conference will bring together scientists, conservationists and policy experts to use what we know about the impacts of climate change on birds to understand future vulnerabilities. We will also examine the evidence that adapting our conservation practice will provide solutions to the climate crisis for birds.

In particular, we will consider different approaches to estimating future impacts of climate change on birds and their habitats, and how these can inform adaptation needs. Given that forecasting the future is always difficult, we will look at the impact of uncertainty upon decision-making for policy and practice.

How we might adapt biodiversity conservation to make climate smart choices has been much discussed, considering potential implications for landscapes, protected site management and species. There is an urgent need for evidence to inform decision-making, and to consider what level of adaptation will be sufficient. Using a range of studies, we will review what we know and identify key knowledge gaps that will inform future work. As an output from the conference, we aim to write a ten-year update of a previously published IBIS Viewpoint from the 2010 BOU conference ‘Birds and Climate Change’.


  • To consider approaches to projecting future impacts of climate change on birds and review what they tell us about species’ vulnerability.
  • Given the anticipated impacts on species and habitats, to review the priorities for adaptation,
  • To assess success rates of different adaptation approaches, and to identify current knowledge gaps in delivering solutions to the climate change crisis for birds.

Call for papers

Will open in early 2020.

Scientific Programme Committee

Dr James Pearce-Higgins (BTO) Chair
Dr Francis Duant (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) Chair, BOU Meetings Committee
Dr Jo Gilbert (RSPB)
Dr Christine Howard (Durham University)

Image credit: Top right, Pacific Ocean sea surface heights | NASA-JPL/Caltech/Ocean Surface Topography Team climate.nasa.gov

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