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Burnham Beeches Biodiversity Facing Climate Change Threat

Date: 2010

Evidence type: Research

Organisation: City of London Corporation

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Woodland and wildlife at Burnham Beeches could become more susceptible to periods of drought, according to a new study on climate change published by the City of London Corporation.

Key Messages

Experts from the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, working closely with nature reserve staff at Burnham Beeches, have warned that although the ancient woodland's famous beech trees may still be able to grow in future they could become increasingly threatened by reduced levels of rainfall (up to a 50% decrease in mean summer rainfall).

Green infrastructure type
Climate change role/function
Managing water supply

The research also shows that under a 3.2 degree C increase in global mean temperature, projected for 2080, a number of beech woodland species could lose all or over 90% of their suitable climate space in the region.

Green infrastructure type
Climate change role/function
Managing high temperatures; Helping other species to adapt

In the future the site could be dominated by smaller, scrubby species of tree that are better suited to the changed climate.

The ground vegetation in the Beeches is also projected to change from heathland to have much more grass. These changes may have detrimental consequences for insects and animals that depend on these habitats.

Green infrastructure type
Trees; Grassland, heathland and moorland
Climate change role/function
Helping other species to adapt
Document Analysis


Level of document
Geographical area to which document refers
Is 'green infrastructure' mentioned?
Relevant to climate change...
Mitigation; Adaptation
Is it relevant to other (non-climate change) benefits of green infrastructure?
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