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Insects move north in climate change.

Byline: By Steve Evans

BATS, badgers and shrews are among species under threat in Warwickshire if climate change gets a grip.

Naturalists and environmentalists in the county are predicting a decrease in numbers of the familiar mammals if drought summers hit the UK.

On the other side of the coin, wildlife previously not seen in Warwickshire - including the conehead bush cricket, the blub-tailed dragonfly and the bee wolf - are now making their home here.

Wildlife experts believe the arrival of the new species is a direct link to climate change.

Details were revealed at the annual conference of the Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull Local Biodiversity Action Plan.

The conference was held at BMW's new engine factory at Hams Hall, in north Warwickshire, which has landscaped large areas of its 85-acre site to provide a refuge for wildlife.

Steven Falk, the county's senior keeper of natural history, was one of the speakers.

He gave his personal observations on how species have been affected by climate change so far.

Mr Falk said: "Species are moving further north and examples that have already moved into Warwickshire from further south include cetti's warbler, roesel's bush cricket, conehead bush cricket, blub-tailed dragonfly, little egret and the bee wolf, which is a major predator of honey bees.

"We have also seen more than 300 insect species colonise Warwickshire in the past two decades, so climate change is already happening."

But he pointed out: "It is not all increases, as with more drought summers we could see a potential decrease in species like the common blue butterfly, bats, badgers and shrews."

He added: "It is easier to detect the arrival of a species than its loss."

Despite recent flooding, the evidence suggests Britain is getting warmer in summer.

The Warwickshire conference attracted 37 delegates from a range of wildlife and environmental organisations.

Debate centred on how the Biodiversity Action Plan can take account of climate change.

CAPTION(S):

BIODIVERSITY ACTION PLAN... Delegates from Coventry and Warwickshire join the debate.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 7, 2007
Words:332
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