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Distribution shifts of plant and animal species


  • Observed climate change is having significant impacts on the distribution of European flora and fauna, with distribution changes of several hundred kilometres projected over the 21st century. These impacts include northwards and uphill range shifts, as well as local and regional extinctions of species.
  • The migration of many species is lagging behind the changes in climate owing to intrinsic limitations, habitat use and fragmentation, and other obstacles, suggesting that they are unable to keep pace with the speed of climate change. Observed and modelled differences between actual and required migration rates may lead to a progressive decline in European biodiversity.
  • Climate change is likely to exacerbate the problem of invasive species in Europe. As climatic conditions change, some locations may become more favourable to previously harmless alien species, which then become invasive and have negative impacts on their new environments.
  • Climate change is affecting the interaction of species that depend on each other for food or other reasons. It can disrupt established interactions but also generate novel ones.

Reference information



CLIM025, bird, temperature

Climate impacts

Extreme Temperatures


Observations and Scenarios


Biodiversity, Transport

Geographic characterization


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