Utilisation of analogous climate locations to produce resilient biodiversity plantings for infrastructure developments

  • Jennifer Allen

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Developers have an obligation to biodiversity when considering the impact their development may have on the environment, with some choosing to go beyond the legal requirement for planning consent. Climate change projections over the 21st century indicate a climate warming and thus the species selected for habitat creation need to be able to withstand the pressures associated with these forecasts. A process is therefore required to identify resilient plantings for sites subject to climate change.
Local government ecologists were consulted on their views on the use of plants of non-native provenance or how they consider resilience to climate change as part of their planting recommendations. There are mixed attitudes towards non-native species, but with studies already showing the impact climate change is having on biodiversity, action needs to be taken to limit further biodiversity loss, particularly given the heavily fragmented landscape preventing natural migration.
A methodology has been developed to provide planners and developers with recommendations for plant species that are currently adapted to the climate the UK will experience in the future. A climate matching technique, that employs a GIS, allows the identification of European locations that currently experience the predicted level of climate change at a given UK location. Once an appropriate location has been selected, the plant species present in this area are then investigated for suitability for planting in the UK. The methodology was trialled at one site, Eastern Quarry in Kent, and suitable climate matched locations included areas in north-western France. Through the acquisition of plant species data via site visits and online published material, a species list was created, which considered original habitat design, but with added resilience to climate change.
Date of Award25 Jun 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSukhvinder Phull (Supervisor) & Peter D Hedges (Supervisor)


  • planting regime
  • habitat-design
  • development site
  • climate change
  • developer's obligation

Cite this