|Lesser Marsh Grasshopper|
While it is easy to dismiss the significance of changes in insect communities, we can expect climate change to have more direct effects on our own lives. That does not just mean more frequent storms and floods, but also threats to our food supply. Combined with the widespread adoption of heavy machinery, winter rain contributes to water-logged land which causes erosion of soil from fields, and lower yielding crops. In summer, high temperature during flowering reduces the number of grains per ear of wheat, while poor access to water during grain filling, caused by compacted ground and low rainfall, reduces the size of those grains. Food production in north-west Europe is expected to be affected less than in other parts of the World, putting increasing pressure on the UK and neighbouring countries to feed the global population. That has serious implications for wildlife associated with farmland, and for us. As well as continuing to monitor wildlife, we are seeking better ways of managing our crops so as to meet the challenges that climate change presents us all.