, Volume 90, Issue 1-2, pp 113-139
Date: 25 Jul 2008

Impacts of socio-economic and climate change scenarios on wetlands: linking water resource and biodiversity meta-models

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A meta-modelling approach has been adopted to link simulations of low and high water flows with simulations of suitable climate space for a selection of fen and bog species with differing drought and flood tolerance. The linked meta-models were used to examine the impacts of socio-economic and climate change scenarios on wetlands in two contrasting regions of the UK. The hydrological model shows that low and high flows are sensitive to climate change and to the regional distribution of abstractions and discharges. Where there are large changes in urbanisation, flows are more sensitive to socio-economic change. The changes in high flows have little impact on the species selected, but changes in low flows result in a number of areas becoming marginal or unsuitable due to dryness. At the regional scale, adaptation options appear to be limited and mostly involve, for surface water-influenced wetlands, increased water imports (either directly through increased non-consumptive water demand or indirectly through river augmentation), which may not be consistent with the socio-economic scenario or be feasible. This paper shows, therefore, that changes in hydrological regime are important for the future of wetlands and that these may depend as much on the future socio-economic situation as the projected changes in climate.