The links between the climate and nature crises are clear. Climate shapes patterns of biodiversity at all scales from global to local; ecosystems are key to the global carbon cycle and often mediate the impacts of climate change on people. The latest IPCC reports show how the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity are now being reported around the world; they also show that habitat degradation and fragmentation increases vulnerability of both people and nature to climate change. It is possible to adapt to climate change and to build resilience, but there are limits to this which would become increasingly apparent at higher levels of global warming. Nature-based Solutions, which provide benefits for people and biodiversity are an essential element of climate change mitigation and adaptation. It is however essential that they are planned and delivered in ways that are scientifically robust, draw on local knowledge and are equitable and inclusive. Mike will give an overview of the global issues based on his experience as an IPCC Coordinating Lead Author and present research that he is leading at Natural England, to test the effectiveness of Nature-based Solutions for climate change in practice and to learn how to implement then to deliver their full potential.
Mike Morecroft is an ecologist at the government conservation agency, Natural England, where he leads on the science of climate change adaptation and mitigation. He is a scientist who works closely with policy makers and conservation practitioners, on a range of issues including carbon storage and sequestration by habitats, climate change adaptation for conservation and nature-based solutions. Mike was a Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent Assessment, jointly leading the chapter on Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems in the Impacts and Adaptation report, published in 2022. He has published over 160 scientific papers, reports and book chapters.
Mike led a research group at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology before joining Natural England in 2009. During this time he worked on long-term monitoring of environmental change as well as developing climate change adaptation science and working on carbon cycling in woodlands. Oxford University’s Wytham Woods, was a particular focus for this work and he was based at the University Field Station for 15 years. Mike started his research career with a PhD on the effects of climate on mountain plants and soils, at Cambridge University, followed by a Postdoc on air pollution impacts on upland grasslands at Manchester University.