Activity 1.3
Winners and losers – looking at the consequences

This activity explores the various consequences of climate change on habitats and species – both positive and negative. The card game is an adaptation of one of the same name, originally developed for the SNH Advances 7 booklet – see Sources and further inspiration.

The distribution of animals and plants is closely related to some aspect of the climate, particularly temperature and rainfall. For much of Britain, the climax vegetation is oak woodland. Oak woodland as a habitat supports a huge variety of associated plant and animal species. Beech woodland is native to only the southern part of Britain, although it grows everywhere, in the past it could not produce surviving saplings in many parts of Scotland.

Changes in our climate over the next 30–40 years due to past emissions are largely inevitable. But, their character will vary across the UK. Scotland, northern England and much of Wales may see increased tree growth because of rising carbon dioxide levels, a longer growing season, and a generally warmer climate. Whereas, elsewhere across England, we may experience more severe summer droughts and increased winter floods, resulting in a decrease in growth rates for many of our native trees.

Predictions for climate change across the UK are being made, although they are open to many uncertainties. However, it’s already clear there will be a significant impact on our trees and forests. The character of our local woods, as well as our forest plantations, is likely to change. There will be winners and losers.

Learners will have/be able to:

  • Explain how climate change can effect animal and plant species differently, but how many will be forced northwards and upwards
  • Describe an example illustrating the connection between cause and consequence/effect
  • Had the opportunity to express their feeling and knowledge/understanding/opinions
  • Have participated in contributing to a small group problem-solving activity


  • 1.3A 2 Maps of suitable sites for oak woodland now and 2080
    From p5 of the Forestry Commission’s Forests and Climate Change booklet (see Sources & further inspiration)
  • 1.3B Winners & losers illustrated card set
    1 set per group of 3–4 pupils – 6 picture/ description cards mixed up

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