Climate change is, by its very nature, a transnational problem that requires transnational solutions.
The over-arching objective of BRANCH is to plug the information gap on climate change and develop policies and strategies to deal with it. Specific objectives include reviewing the effectiveness of existing EU nature conservation and spatial development policies in safeguarding and enhancing Europe’s biodiversity in the context of climate change, and designing and testing new planning tools for the development of sustainable habitats. The project also aims to raise awareness of climate change issues so that it becomes integral to all levels of spatial planning.
By pooling modelling techniques developed by organisations in different parts of the EU, BRANCH will create the first Europe-wide map illustrating the vulnerability of different habitats and species to climate change. Another will show the losses coastal areas are likely to suffer with more detailed maps for the coasts of south east England and Normandy depicting vulnerable areas and proposals for how at risk areas could be re-created. Partner bodies will work together on a transnational basis to apply the models to predict the impact of climate change on the biodiversity of five case-study areas. Using the information gathered, ‘climate change proofed’ management plans will be developed for 20 key Natura sites of European significance.
To review the effectiveness of current EU nature conservation and spatial development policies in safeguarding and enhancing Europe's biodiversity in the context of climate change.
To develop policies and strategies that will assist future spatial planning to accommodate changing biodiversity as a result of climate change.
To design and test management and planning tools, relating particularly to the Natura 2000 network, that will promote more durable and effective biodiversity investments and practices.
To inform and build competence amongst planners and decision-makers regarding the predicted impacts of climate change and the policies and practical solutions.
To raise awareness of climate change adaptation opportunities, tools and techniques, so that planning for climate change becomes an integrated part of spatial planning at all levels.
To work closely with other projects where the project topic is sensitive to climate change issues, so that climate change issues and opportunities are integrated into the work and results of these projects.
With regard to the last objective, the BRANCH project partners will work with other relevant European projects active at this time (including other Interreg projects) to maximise the benefits of the sharing of information and experience that comes from such synergy.