Habitats & Soils

Ecological and soil processes determining the occurrence of different habitats are also influenced by the climate. As the climate changes then the factors favouring different habitats is also changing, whether this be for montane, woodland, grassland, heathland, agricultural or coastal habitats. These basic principles were eloquently described centuries ago by the legendary Alexander von Humboldt as well as later contemporaries such as Darwin, Hooker and Russell Wallace.

My recent work has investigated habitat factors in more detail using bioclimate variables, including parameters such as growing season length, soil moisture, frost intensity, snow cover and wind exposure. This also involves investigation of inter-relationships between climate, soil properties (e.g. drainage, pH, texture organic matter), topography (slope, aspect etc.) and vegetation types. This information can then be used to explore how local microclimate factors influence soils and habitats in addition to larger-scale global and regional climate changes. We can then use to evaluate different strategies that can help habitats and biodiversity to exist in a warmer world.


Brown I (2017) Hierarchical bioclimate zonation to reference climate change across scales and its implications for nature conservation planning. Applied Geography 85, 126-138. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2017.05.011

Gimona, A.; Poggio, L.; Brown, I.; Castellazzi, M.S. (2012) Woodland networks in a changing climate: threats from land use change. Biological Conservation, 149, 93-102.