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A Living Landscape for Kent

Location: Kent, United Kingdom, www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/index.php?option =com_content&task =view&id = 119 & Itemid=238

Objective: creating a climate-proof ecological network and a contribution to the development of a wider, regional ecological network

Problems: fragmentation of the landscape foreseen as a barrier to climate change induced movement of species; confounding of connectivity with areas for habitat re-creation; network design was based on just nine animal species in the INTERREG project; application of bioclimatic models at an inappropriate scale also occurred; project made no attempt to integrate earlier work on ecological network definition undertaken by local stakeholders; still at an early stage of development, practical implementation yet to occur

Solutions: develop an ecological network by modelling potential species responses to climate change and resulting range shifts at a scale appropriate to most biodiversity; identify, maintain and enhance areas that already have good levels of connectivity; produce separate maps for connectivity and habitat potential; consider the role of microclimatic variation in climate change adaptation 

Results: widespread local engagement within Kent Wildlife Trust members; participatory workshop that presented the outputs of ecological models to stakeholders; contribution to the regional/national Living Landscapes map; 25% of local planning authorities engaged

Critical factors of success: integration of ecological network maps within all Local Development Frameworks; practical implementation action that maintains, enhances and extends existing patterns of connectivity; application of range change models at a scale that is relevant to invertebrates and higher/lower plants of conservation interest

Key learning points: use of spatially explicit ecological models for ecological network design; connectivity analysis can help design more robust ecological networks; early engagement with spatial planners is essential; ecological networks can be an important climate change adaptation measure

Actors: local government, statutory agencies, NGOs and natural history societies

Communication: communication through established relationships with local spatial planners on an individual basis

Financing: INTERREG IIIB funded spatial planning project (BRANCH)

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