November 2013: According to research led by researchers at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), there is strong evidence to show that internationally important British bird populations are under threat from climate change.
Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the paper assessed the impact of climate change on breeding seabirds and wintering waterbirds found at protected sites across the UK.
Species that will be threatened by climate change for the long-term include Arctic terns, guillemots, eider and bar-tailed godwit.
However, despite this bleak outlook, the BTO are keen to emphasize a positive message that has come out of the research. While the SPA network will not be able to singlehandedly stop some species from declining, they will play an increasingly important role as sanctuaries.
The paper's lead author, Dr Ali Johnson, said: "We found that the measures we already have in place to conserve our seabirds and waterbirds are ‘future-proofed' for a changing climate, and will also protect important populations in the future".