Climate change is and will continue to directly affect landscapes, habitats, species, geological features and ecological functioning. Designated features within Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) may be particularly vulnerable to the physical risks of climate change due to their unique and often vulnerable or endangered status.
The aim of this report is to present an evidence-base of how climate change might affect a SSSI, and to identify potential options for adaptive management, using the site in Southern England, Amberley Wild Brooks SSSI, as a case study.
This report outlines the key climate hazards and risks that will likely be experienced at this location by the 2060s, and presents a risk assessment for each of the site’s designated features under two emissions scenarios: medium-high and high. The high-emissions scenario refers to a future where there is a global average temperature increase of about 4.3˚C by 2100, relative to pre-industrial temperatures. A medium-high scenario refers to a future with warming of about 2.8˚C by 2100. The results show that under the medium-high scenario, all features face medium and high risks and under the high Scenario, all features are at high risk. This means that 50-100% of each feature may be adversely affected or lost by the 2060s.
To explore potential adaptation strategies and options, the Resist Accept Direct (RAD) framework has been used to present management options for each feature, which could be adopted on a feature-by-feature basis. The outputs of this project will be used as the basis of further conversations with stakeholders about long term management objectives for the site and to develop future adaptive management plans. To achieve this, stakeholders should explore what ‘good’ could look like for this site over specified time horizons to drive decisions about the best adaptation approaches.