Skip to Content

Resource hub

Implications of climate change for biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories 2009

Atmosphere Freshwater Marine Terrestrial JNCC Publications Overseas Territories 0963-8091 Birds Birds of particular localities Coastal and Estuarine Freshwater Habitats Invertebrates JNCC report series Marine Habitats Plants Reptiles and Amphibians 427 Climate regulation Greenhouse gas Anguilla Ascension Bermuda British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Falkland Islands Gibraltar Montserrat Pitcairn Islands South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands St. Helena Tristan da Cunha Turks and Caicos Islands


There is overwhelming evidence to show that climate change is being driven by human activities, in particular, those that consume fossil fuels and cause changes in land use. The radiation budget of the planet is being changed as a result, which has been causing apparently unprecedented rates of warming.

A report by JNCC in 1999 – Biodiversity: The UK Overseas Territories – summarised the major biodiversity features and highlighted many species and habitats of local and international conservation significance. However, potential impacts from climate change were generally not considered. A study by the Natural Resources Institute and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, The Impacts of Global Climate Change on the UK Overseas Territories, was the first attempt to consider the potential consequences of climate change for livelihoods and habitats in the Overseas Territories (Sear et al. 2001). The threat from global climate change becoming an increasingly important issue for the UK to consider if it is to meet its responsibilities to biodiversity conservation through international conventions and agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Critically, lack of data hinder the development of conservation strategies in the Overseas Territories (Oldfield and Sheppard 1997).

This review is part of a series of new initiatives to assess the implications of climate change for nature conservation in the UK and the Overseas Territories (JNCC 2003). The primary aim of this review was to document the known and perceived threats to biodiversity for each Territory. The research behind this report revealed the paucity of information relevant to the UK Overseas Territories. Apart from impacts on coral reef systems, there has been very little quantitative research relating to climate change implications for biodiversity in the Overseas Territories. In terms of new information on climate change impacts, this review has focused on the threat of sea-level rise to species and habitats in the Overseas Territories. However, it should be emphasised most of the information in this review is qualitative. Much more detailed studies are required in order to better understand the implications of rising sea-level, which is going to proceed regardless of any short-term mitigation measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Meehl et al. 2005).

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2009·01·01

McWilliams, J.P. 2009. Implications of climate change for biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories, JNCC Report No. 427, JNCC, Peterborough, ISSN 0963-8091.

This review is assessed the implications of climate change for nature conservation in the UK and the Overseas Territories

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2020·05·19

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

Back to top