Preparing for a changing climate: Natural England’s new biodiversity vulnerability model for conservation practitioners


The National Biodiversity Climate Change Vulnerability Model (NBCCVM) indicates the relative vulnerability of priority habitats in different geographical areas and helps guide interventions which can increase their resilience. The report demonstrates how the model will inform the development of national and local adaptation strategies for biodiversity, and help prioritise the actions to be taken as part of these strategies.

The Biodiversity Climate Change Vulnerability Model identifies priority habitats within 200m x 200m grids and assesses them for:

  • their sensitivity to climate change (high, medium or low);
  • their adaptive capacity, reflecting local circumstances which increase or decrease vulnerability such as habitat fragmentation, variety in topography, current management applications and site condition;
  • their conservation value in terms of the designation status of protected sites.

The sensitivity and adaptive capacity elements described above can then be added together to produce an overall national assessment of biodiversity climate change vulnerability. Combining this with the conservation value element can be an aid to the prioritisation of action.

The model is built through Geographic Information Systems (GIS) meaning that the analysis can be presented as maps at a variety of scales, giving a visual representation of the areas vulnerable to climate change. It will also be possible to run the model to test different scenarios such as the effect of different management regimes or habitat creation.  For more information please see Natural England's research report NERR054 - National biodiversity climate change vulnerability model.


Natural England.