Because of its coastal nature and generally flat landscape, the habitats of the Norfolk Broads are particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change
- Saline penetration from surrounding sea water will increasingly impact the Broads’ freshwater habitats, making them more brackish and adversely affecting species dependent upon freshwater conditions, such as the bittern, water soldier and many species of fish. Restoring the structure of river channels and adapting dredging depths in rivers would help to moderate saline intrusion, as would raising water levels in the Upper Thurne.
- Natural floodplain wetlands will be impacted by a repeated cycle of flooding and drought which will lead to changes in many habitats and species. Rare water plants may decline due to increased soil erosion affecting water quality. Improving connectivity between river channels, planting of wet woodland, and restoration of water meadows would help floodplains and wetland habitats function more effectively.
- Changes in the timing of seasonal events like flowering, breeding and migration may result in the decline of migratory birds such as turtle dove, yellow wagtail and cuckoo. Altered cropping and grazing patterns and extending existing habitats and creating new habitat areas would all have an impact. New wetland areas may need to be created to moderate the flooding of existing wildlife sites.
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- Natural England maps out a future for climate change, March 31, 2009