Climate changes may also increase the risk of the occurrence of diseases that may affect, for example, tree species or forest floor vegetation. It may be that, where suitable conditions for these pathogens occurred rarely, the conditions may occur more frequently, or for extended periods.
Significant changes in weather may increase the risk of flood, of fire, of damage by high winds, causing trees to blow over.
The effects of climate change will be most significant where habitats such as forests or peatlands are small. Where habitats are more extensive - as in the Cairngorms Connect area, the impacts of a fire, a flood, a disease, freezing temperatures, or wind-throw of trees, are less significant, compared with a small area of habitat.
- improving the quality and extent of our full range of habitats.
Woodland expansion to its natural limit
- Climate change may make some areas of our forests unsuitable for some species - perhaps too warm, or too cool; too wet or too dry. By expanding our forests to extend higher up the hills, we can create new or alternative ‘niches’, providing homes for wildlife displaced by climate change.
Peatland restoration - blanket bogs
. As well as being an important way of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon, functioning blanket bogs have a very important role in holding water high in the catchment. An eroded blanket bog has deep channels through which water rushes into rivers, contributing to flood risk. A restored blanket bog has pools and Sphagnum mosses that hold water, and intact peat functions as a huge sponge to hold water. All of this helps to slow movement of water into the lower catchment, reducing flood risk.