Designing landscape-scale solutions for climate change adaptation

Providing tools and guidance to conservation practitioners to help create habitat networks resilient to climate change impacts.

Male capercaillie 'lekking'


The amount, quality and spatial arrangement of natural habitat in the landscape will influence the capacity of species to either persist in the face of adverse climate change, or shift their geographic distribution with changes in preferred climate.  

Ensuring the development of a resilient habitat network, therefore, will be a crucial component of conservation planning for climate change adaptation. Beyond the mantra of ‘bigger, better and more joined up’ however, there is still much uncertainty amongst conservation practitioners.  

The aim of these projects is to provide practical guidance and tools for conservation managers to assist the design of appropriate landscape scale adaptation interventions.


  • To develop a spatially-explicit population model for woodland grouse species in the UK (capercaillie and black grouse), providing a basis to assess the relative efficacy of different potential landscape-scale and site-based adaptation options.
  • To develop a software tool for conservation managers which optimises habitat networks.


 A spatially-explicit population model has been developed for capercaillie in the Cairngorms National Park. We are currently testing the effects of different climate change, land cover and conservation management scenarios on projected future population trajectories.


The RSPB collaborated in the Knowledge Exchange project called "Achieving bigger, better and more joined-up habitat networks: quantifying benefits and comparing scenarios" funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) and led by the University of Liverpool, which resulted in the development of Condatis, a decision support tool for conservation practitioners to help design optimal habitat networks.  

Working with Natural England and the University of Liverpool, we are using Condatis to identify ecological networks for key habitat types at regional and national scales.

The RSPB also continues to work with partners to develop the functionality of Condatis and promote its use by conservation practitioners. This includes a follow-up NERC-funded Knowledge Exchange Fellowship called "Facilitating the applications of decision support tools for habitat creation".


Coast on a stormy day

Dr Steven Ewing

Senior Conservation Scientist, Conservation Science
Tagged with: Country: England Country: Scotland Habitat: Farmland Habitat: Grassland Habitat: Heathland Habitat: Upland Habitat: Wetland Habitat: Woodland Species: Black grouse Species: Capercaillie Project status: Ongoing Project types: Research