Cluster Biodiversity

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Source: Photograph: © athomenden /

2019 Monitoring Report on the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change

Table of Contents



The distribution of animal and plant species, of their communities or of ecosystems is largely dependent on the earth’s climatic conditions. Any changes e.g. in temperature, precipitation or the frequency of extreme events have long-term impacts on seasonal development, behaviour and reproduction, competitiveness and feeding relationships. According to projections, many of the climatically favourable habitats of species occurring in Germany will shift either north or to higher altitudes in mountain ranges or along humidity gradients. Climate change can put species at risk, when their distribution ranges shrink or when the species affected are unable to colonise new habitats owing to restrictions on their distribution. This risk can also occur when the development rhythms of specific species are no longer synchronised. According to present consensus, climate change – next to change of land use – is considered one of the most important factors influencing biodiversity.

Apart from direct impacts, climate change also has indirect impacts on biodiversity. Triggers are adaptations to land use including agriculture and forestry or measures to protect the human population and infrastructure such as changes in water management. Another trigger can be the implementation of climate protection measures such as the expansion of renewable energies or the insulation of buildings; this can influence the occurrence of species and the quality of their habitats. However, in most cases, it is difficult to prove to what extent these developments affect biodiversity, as there are usually numerous other factors which play a role.

In order to improve the protection of biodiversity under changing climatic conditions, it is essential, above all, to create prerequisites for the conservation of sufficiently large populations and their genetic diversity thus ensuring that the habitats of species are interconnected well and that other adverse effects on species or habitats are diminished as far as possible.


Effects of climate change

Temporal development of wild plant species undergoes seasonal shifts (BD-I-1)

The influence of climate change on bird species is increasing (BD-I-2)

Increase in naturally flooded areas benefits biodiversity in alluvial meadows (BD-I-3)



Climate change impacts gaining importance in landscape planning (BD-R-1)

Protected areas – refuges for animals and plants exposed to climate change (BD-R-2)

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