Impacts and adaptation in the tropics
May 6, 2010 | | 0 COMMENTS(S)|
Theme: Adaptation at the edge
Parallel Session 2.4.5 | 2.00pm – 3.30pm | 30th June 2010
Poster Session 2.6 | 5.45pm – 7.00pm | 30th June 2010
- Suzanne Long, Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Australia
Impacts and adaptation in the tropics
Even though the tropics are home to at least 40% of humans, as well as the greatest biodiversity on the planet, a considerable majority of the world’s climate change research effort and investment has focused on impacts and adaptation in temperate zones. This deficiency is alarming given that relatively few tropical countries have sufficient capacity to research their local climate change impacts or plan for adaptation. This session aims to provide an opportunity for those working in or on the tropics to share knowledge and thereby increase collective capacity for effective adaptation in tropical regions. Presenters in this session will discuss climate change impacts on tropical communities and ecosystems in the context of transferable adaptation methods, techniques and information.
Abstracts for Speakers:
Abstracts for Posters:
Potential impacts of an increasing frequency of intense cyclones on plant communitieis in the Australian Wet Tropics, Helen Murpy, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship, Australia
Download the abstract book here (PDF)
T Skewes, V Lyne and J Butler
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Australia
CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia
Communities and managers of marine systems face immense challenges in developing effective responses to future climate change and other pressures such as natural resource use, and population increase (at global, national and local scales). Ecological systems are complex, interconnected, and the interaction of various impacts is difficult to predict and visualise. Also, management and community response mechanisms are limited by a broad suite of human governance, cultural, infrastructure and natural parameters. We have developed a cost-effective, multiple impacts assessment and scenario building approach that will provide information for managers, at all levels, to plan for the possible impacts of climate change and other pressures on ecosystem assets and the services they provide to humans and other connected ecological systems. Information products from the approach, such as ecosystem conceptual models and impact scenarios, can then be used in participatory frameworks being implemented by a variety of government and non-government agencies across the South Pacific for natural resource planning that achieves a balance between sustainable production, livelihoods and effective conservation. The models and concepts are based on qualitative approaches and expert knowledge, as well as widely available mapping data. The formulation of these generic methods and the participatory frameworks that they will feed into are part of a long term process that will ultimately build the capacity of local government planners and managers in Melanesia.
A systematic vulnerability assessment: analysing the vulnerability of sea turtle nesting grounds to climate change
Human-induced climate change is as a major threat to the survival of many species and the integrity of broader ecosystems. There is already empirical and anecdotal evidence that biodiversity has been affected by climatic changes, with predictions of further and more severe impacts as climate change progresses. A particular ecosystem or species may be directly and/or indirectly affected by different and multiple climatic processes at different temporal and geographical scales. This will cause considerable challenges for natural resource conservation and management since for logistical, financial and political reasons, managers cannot address all of these threats simultaneously; thus priorities must be allocated. In order for managers to efficiently prioritize their resources they will require to understand: (1) the cumulative and relative impact of various climatic process on a particular specie; (2) the spatial variation of the cumulative impact of climate change on the species distributional range; and (3) how the vulnerability of the specie to climate change will alter if impacts from a specific climatic factor is mitigated. However, most of the studies conducted to date does not provide this information as they are limited in scale, because (1) they predict how a single climatic process will affect a particular specie, yet processes are likely to occur simultaneously and cause cumulative effects, and (2) they typically focus on only one habitat or location used by the specie and this approach does not provide a full understanding of how a population, (management unit) will be affected. Consequently, there is a need for a structured approach to investigate how multiple climatic processes may affect the full range of habitats used by a particular species or population. This study addresses this by using a vulnerability assessment framework to assess the cumulative impact of various climatic processes on the nesting grounds (n=7) that represent the nesting habitat for 99% of the northern Great Barrier Reef (nGBR) green turtle population, the largest green turtle population in the world, under a conservative and extreme scenario of climate change for both 2030 and 2070. The framework used is based on the IPCC framework for climate change and is described as a function of sensitivity, exposure and adaptive capacity. The framework used allowed: (1) an assessment of how multiple climatic factors will affect sea turtles nesting grounds, (2) investigation of which climatic process will cause the most impact to each nesting ground, (3) identification of which nesting grounds will be the mostvulnerable to climate change, and (4) investigation of how mitigating different climatic factors individually or simultaneously can influence the vulnerability of the nesting grounds. The vulnerability assessment indicated that Milman Island and Bramble are the most vulnerable nesting grounds to climate change. Further, this study also indicated that in the short term (by 2030), sea-level rise will cause the most impact on the nesting grounds used by the nGBR green turtle population. However, in the longer term, by 2070 sand temperatures will reach levels above the upper transient range (30.8ËšC), where only female hatchlings are produced, and cause relatively more impact on the nGBR green turtle population. Thus, in the long term, a reduction of impacts from sea- level rise may not be sufficient, as nesting grounds will start to experience high vulnerability values from increased temperature. Therefore, a stronger focus on mitigating the threats from increased temperature will be necessary for long term management. Indeed, this study indicated that addressing the impacts from increased temperature will cause the greatest reductions in the cumulative vulnerability of nesting grounds to climate change. If the impacts from increased temperature are mitigated, all rookeries will experience very low levels of cumulative vulnerability in the future. The framework used in this study proved valuable to asses how multiple climatic processes will affect the reproductive output of sea turtles and provided key information for managers to direct and focus management and conservation actions to protect turtle populations in the face of climate change. This framework can be easily adapted if new information is obtained, and can be transferable to different species and populations provided the necessary data exist. Thus, it may be key in future management of species as climate change progresses.
H Herawati*, H Purnomo, H Santoso1 and B Locatelli
Environmental Services and Sustainable Use of Forests Programme, CIFOR, Indonesia
Indonesia, which hosts some of the richest biodiversity in the world, has been called a mega-biodiversity region. To conserve this biodiversity, the government has designated forested biodiversity-rich areas as national parks. One example is the 122,956-hectare Ujung Kulon National Park, which comprises lowland rainforests and mangrove ecosystems. The park is also the habitat of 40–60 critically endangered Javan rhinos (Rhinoceros sondaicus).
The park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is in Pandeglang District, West Java Province, Indonesia.
The Javan rhino and its forest habitat are among the natural systems being affected by climate change. An analysis of temperatures from 1980 to 2008 shows that the temperature at Ujung Kulon ranges between 25.6 °C and 26.8 °C. According to IPCC scenarios of A2, B1 and A1B, the temperature may increase by approximately 1.950 °C, 2.675 °C and 4.265 °C, respectively, by 2100 compared with 2000. Scenario A1B predicts that January precipitation will increase by 139 mm but scenarios A2 and B1 predict a precipitation decrease of 92 mm and 78 mm, respectively. These may result in floods or droughts in the area, respectively. Higher temperatures will increase the evaporation and transpiration rate of the forest area. At the same time, the temperature rise will increase the rhino’s need to wallow. The predicted future climate is likely to threaten the Javan rhino conservation program.
A system’s vulnerability to climate change is influenced by its exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Assessing these variables in any system can help stakeholders identify and prioritise adaptation options. As the concepts of vulnerability to climate change and adaptation measures are new for stakeholders at the local level, tools for facilitating participatory knowledge sharing on climate change, especially on vulnerability and adaptation measures, are needed.
This paper reviews the application of criteria and indicators (C&I) for assessing the vulnerability of the Javan rhino and its forest habitat to climate change, informing local stakeholders about vulnerability to climate change and identifying adaptation options.
We first developed hypothetical socio-ecological principles and criteria (P&C) for the vulnerability assessment. Working with WWF-Indonesia, we organised a focus group discussion at the local level (Pandeglang District, West Java Province) for participants from the national park authority, local government, NGOs, local communities and universities. Experts from different disciplines, including meteorology, ecology, forestry, veterinary science, tourism and community empowerment also joined the discussion. The focus group was designed to discuss the P&C, adapt them based on group input and develop specific indicators for the climate change vulnerability of the Javan rhino and its forest habitat.
The exercise showed that local people around the park had not been adequately exposed to information on issues related to climate change, climate change impact and climate change adaptation. The P&C is a useful tool for communicating and discussing climate change vulnerability at the local level. The tool also enabled local stakeholders to identify climate change vulnerability indicators and potential adaptation options using participatory and better data evaluation methods.
J VanDerWal, L Shoo and S Williams
Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, James Cook University
Considering climatically suitable habitat as refuges for species in otherwise hostile environments has practical importance in identifying the potential persistence of species threatened by climate change. For such species, refugia may represent a gradient from long term broad-scale climatically stable areas over geological time through to small-scale short-term climatic stability in microhabitats. Examining such a gradient provides a greater degree of insight into how species / biodiversity may be influenced-by and adapt-to future climate change. This paper will demonstrate how such knowledge can be used to better inform conservation strategies.
The relative influences of contemporary climate and historical stability in structuring current patterns of species richness is still debated. However, the stability in the climate of rainforests of the east coast of Australia since the last interglacial period has structured phylogeographic patterns in species distributions. Further it can explain 40-80% of the variance in species richness patterns of low-dispersal species in the Australian Wet Tropics region (AWT). It appears that in the AWT, the stable refuges of the past will likely be the refugial areas of the future, maintaining areas of highest richness and reinforcing structuring of species lineages.
In contrast, instability in climates over a relatively short term can have large impacts on distributional patterns of individual species. Highly variable spatial and temporal patterns in temperature and precipitation across the Australian tropical savannas (ATS) have led to a bird assemblage with high temporal variability in movement patterns and a high incidence of nomadism. An examination of monthly variability in temperature and precipitation from 1950 to present has shown that such fine-scaled temporal instability produces substantial fluctuations in distributions of climatically suitable habitat both within and across years; this instability is not accounted for in most climate change impact assessments (using long term climate means). Despite the fluctuations, overlapping areas of suitable habitat that persist across years (refugia) can be identified. Unfortunately, few of these persistent refuges have been currently afforded any protection (e.g., within national parks, reserves). Indeed, probabilistic projections of these persistent refugia into the future show even less overlap with areas currently afforded protection.
At a mesoscale, identification of thermally-buffered environments is important. Factors such as foliage cover and proximity to coast, in addition to elevation, act to ameliorate local temperatures and generate climatically suitable habitat (refuges) in otherwise hostile environments. In the AWT, a disproportionately high number of endemic species (45 %) are encompassed within just twenty-five percent of the coolest identified rainforest. This data is being used to (i) identify important areas of cool habitat for protection; and (ii) efficiently guide restoration in degraded landscapes to expand extant networks of thermally buffered refugia.
At the finest spatial scales, local environmental processes, microhabitat and species behaviour may allow persistence not apparent at coarser scales. Previously thought to be the most vulnerable vertebrate in the AWT, the microhylid frog (Cophixalus concinnus) only occurs in several square kilometers of forest on the top of a single mountain. It was thought that a 2 degree increase in temperature would drive the species off the top of the mountain. We demonstrate substantial temperature buffering afforded by boulder field habitat occupied by the species suggesting that exposure and vulnerability may be overestimated.
M H Hasan and U K N Navera
Institute of Water Modelling, Bangladesh
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh
Bangladesh is the most vulnerable country to the impacts of global warming induced accelerated sea level rise due to its geographical location. It has about 710 km long coastline where 28% of total people live (PDO-ICZMP 2004). Due to its geophysical setting Bangladesh coast is frequently visited by the cyclone-induced storm surge. As islands are exposed to the sea these are the most vulnerable to sea level rise and cyclonic storm surge both. During the last 48 years nineteen (19) major cyclones devastated the coastal area, where SIDR, a severe cyclone that hit the coast of Bangladesh in 2007, had highest wind speed. The assessment of impact of climate change induced cyclonic storm surge and evaluation of potential adaptation measures requires use of scientifically based and tested state-of-the-art mathematical modelling tools. This paper presents the potential impacts of climate change induced cyclonic storm surge on inundation depth and current speed which is essential for assessing the vulnerability of coastal embankment. Two selected islands namely Sandwip and Hatiya have been considered for detailed investigation. Adaptation measures such as mangrove afforestation, cyclone shelter and raising of embankment crest level have also been analyzed.
In this study severe cyclone like SIDR has been selected to assess the vulnerability of selected islands as it has highest wind speed compared to other cyclones. The study also shows that the wind speed of cyclonic storm surge is increasing gradually from the analysis of historical wind speed data. Two different local models were developed for two selected islands and three different tracks were taken for each island one is to the north, one is to the middle and one is to the south of the island. It was found that if the cyclone makes landfall to the north of the island it creates the most surge height. According to the 4th IPCC report maximum Sea Level Rise (SLR) will be 59 cm by 2100 whereas according to the Synthesis Report of Copenhagen Summit on March 2009 maximum SLR will be 1±0.5m by 2100. Model result shows that if SIDR type cyclone comes with SLR 0.59m and 1.0m during high tide maximum surge height will be 6.5 m and 6.82 m in Sandwip island and 9.2 m and 9.5 m in Hatiya island respectively. According to 4th IPCC report, if temperature is increased by 2oC wind speed will be increased by 10%. If the same cyclone comes with 10% increased wind speed during high tide with 59 cm SLR then surge height may increase by 0.9 m for both the islands.
Mangrove afforestation was assessed as an adaptation measure in the study since its roots and trunks system can dissipate energy of cyclonic storm surge. The roots and trunks system of Mangrove creates resistance to the flow and it has been incorporated in the model as an equivalent Manning number. It has been found that 400m and 600 m width of Mangrove can reduce surge height by 15 cm and 20 cm respectively whereas it reduces current speed to one-third. As it reduces the current speed to a larger extent reduces the risk of erosion and failure of embankment. Both Sandwip and Hatiya have coastal embankment but it is not sufficient to prevent overtopping. If similar cyclone like SIDR comes during high tide with 1m SLR, embankment crest level needs to be raised by 7.02m for Sandwip and 9.7m for Hatiya. There are numbers of cyclone shelters in both the islands but it needs redesigning considering SLR and increase of wind speed of cyclonic storm surge.
Journalist and researcher, Australia
In many small island developing states (SIDS) in the Pacific islands, government agencies and community organisations are developing initiatives for community vulnerability assessment and “bottom-up” climate adaptation at village and community level.
Drawing on research for Oxfam International and fieldwork in Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and other Pacific island nations, the paper will present and assess examples of community-based adaptation initiatives.
As donor governments pledge funds for climate adaptation programs, the paper documents examples of community-level “climate proofing” and disaster preparedness in the Pacific islands, which should be an increased focus for international support. It will highlight the interface between adaptation programs and planning for displacement, especially in low-lying atoll communities facing internal displacement because of extreme weather events which threaten food security, water supply and rural livelihoods.
Based on interviews and workshops run in 2010 in Kiribati and Tuvalu, the paper will also discuss the impact of climate change on children in the Pacific, in the areas of survival, development, protection and participation.
While there is an increased level of activity and programming on climate adaptation, most agencies do not have an explicit strategic focus on children and climate change, and little if any of their program activity is currently focussed on children. This provides both a challenge and opportunity for agencies that prioritise rights-based programming. The presentation will include examples where children’s voice and engagement in adaptation initiatives can amplify regional and national programming on climate change adaptation.
Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Climate change is an important issue in the field of development, one that has the potential to change the way in which countries interact with one another. Each country will be impacted differently from the effects of climate change though the consensus among those in the environment and development field is that developing countries will be heavily impacted due to other socioeconomic, geographical, and political factors. Therefore balancing development efforts and climate change efforts is important. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a category of countries that have to deal with the effects of climate change now, and plan for the future effects that scientists are predicting. The issues that are of major concern for SIDS include (but are not limited to): sea-level rise, access to clean fresh water, tropical storms, salt water intrusion, and health issues. These climate change issues are putting heavy strains on many SIDS which are already struggling to make ends meet. Small Island Developing States must tackle similar barriers when dealing with development challenges. These barriers may be expanded and resources exhausted because of the effects of climate change, given that Small Islands are particularly vulnerable to climate change because of their small size, and their high ratio of shoreline to land area. This paper looks at how small island developing states are balancing development initiatives and climate change adaptation. Within each Small Island Developing State there are different perspectives of what should be the optimal balance between climate change and development. This is an important factor in the balance since the priorities set by the government for the allocation of time, effort, and money is not always in the same sequence as the people in the country. These issues are explored with a particular focus on the Pacific island country of Tuvalu.
M Syed Hazari and HM Ibrahim
Centre for the Straits of Malacca (SOM), Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA), Malaysia
The Straits of Malacca flows within the territories of Malaysia and the Republic of Indonesia. It is an important lifeline to these countries, especially Malaysia. Apart from its significant role in international shipping, the Straits of Malacca is predominantly utilized by Malaysia for fisheries, coastal tourism and other non-navigational uses. Like many other important marine areas in the world, the Straits of Malacca will be impacted by climate change. With the marine pollution problem still looming within the Straits, coupled by the advent effects of climate change, allowing the Straits to be in its status quo will be catastrophic to Malaysia, especially to its economy and the livelihood of its people.
This paper attempts to provide non-technical overview of climate change issues on the Straits of Malacca, by focusing on the “three major effects” of climate change, namely global warming, the increase of seawater temperature and rise of sea level. It will focus on the possible adaptation policy responses, which can be undertaken by Malaysia to reduce the impacts of the “three major effects”.
The first part will describe, in general the possible impact scenarios of climate change due to the “three major effects” to the Straits of Malacca, taking into consideration the geo-morphological characteristics of the Straits of Malacca. The environmental assets in the Straits of Malacca (within Malaysian waters), having the vulnerability to be affected by the “three major effects” will be determined. Possible vulnerable areas, especially in the northern area of the Straits of Malacca will be mapped using GIS.
A review on the national institutional framework, having the effect to prepare Malaysia to combat the “three major effects” on the Straits of Malacca (focusing on the vulnerable areas) will be carried out. The institutional framework is divided into two: regulatory and management. The regulatory framework deals with those maritime related policies and legislations that are currently regulating the environmental related issues in Malaysia. Initial findings have found that the national regulatory framework lacks the remedy to combat the “three major effects”, with only minor ambiguous climate change related provisions in the existing framework. The management framework, on the other hand is satisfactory. It is currently under the purview of specific departments under the aegis of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), which has been responsible to draft the National Policy on Climate Change.
The paper will then argue that to combat the “three major effects” to the Straits, policy measures or responses should focus on adaptation with particular emphasis on implementing the ‘precautionary principle’ and ‘polluter pays principle’, which in the end to achieve sustainability within the waterway. Mitigation policy measures are not desirable because the activities in the Straits of Malacca do not contribute much to Malaysia’s GHG emissions. Although Malaysia pledged at the 15th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, Germany) to reduce her GHG emissions up to 40 % by 2020, it does not have much impact on the activities in the Straits of Malacca.
Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, University of Agriculture, Nigeria.
Large-scale degradation has occurred in South west Nigeria, especially the Niger Delta area as a result of past unsuccessful land use policies and land-use decree and traditional land-title deeds. Resource utilization has been based on a policy that restricts the access of local communities to the forests except with permits. People generally had to illegally enter the forest for farming, wood collection, grazing and charcoal burning.
The land system, including freshwater, is a critical land component within the earth system. Both terrestrial and aquatic land ecosystem provide a multiplicity of ecosystem services. Intensification and diversification of land use and advances in technology have led to rapid changes in landscape dynamics. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is a maritime country, with most of the oil and gas resources coming from the coastal areas. Our coasts are important and present an opportunity to make a greater contribution to our well-being and to benefit from the protection of critical marine environments. This has not being the case over the years. Area-based planning has been a popular and important coastal management especially in the developed countries, being used to address persistent conflicts over land and water use, declines in water quality, protection of habitat and endangered species and the accommodation of ever-growing human population. Today the scenario is more precarious courtesy the impulse of global climate change phenomenon. The coastal area can be a potential zone for increasing crop and fish production through better management of land and water resources. Climate change is projected to impact broadly across ecosystems, societies and economies, increasing pressure on all livelihoods and food supplies, including those in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Food quality will have a more pivotal role as food resources come under greater pressure, and the availability and access to fish supplies will become an increasingly critical development issue.
This paper examines the three primary determinants of use patterns in coastal zone areas in Nigeria: environmental factors, social factors and economic factors. Evaluating the degree to which conflict exists and the impact of such on the environment formed the research questions of this paper. The study analysed the multiple use problems such as fisheries, crop farming, oil and gas production and tourism, and proposed a management approach that will integrate comprehensive climate risk management into development planning, programs, and projects in the coastal zone of Nigeria.
S A Alam and M Starr
Viikki Tropical Resources Institute, Department of Forest Sciences, Latokartanonkaari
Department of Forest Sciences, Latokartanonkaari
The Sahel belt of Africa has been identified as a “hot spot” of global environmental change. However, the response of this semi-arid region to climate change, particularly in relation to woodland vegetation cover and water-use, remains unclear. Climate change could cause major ecological disruption and conflict in the region. We have modelled the impact of various climate change and emission scenarios on the water-use and water-use efficiency of woodlands across the Sudanese Sahel region for the 2080s.
Modelled monthly mean scenarios of climate variables (temperature, precipitation and cloud cover) for the period 2070- 2099 were derived using five GCMs (CGCM2, CISRO2, ECHam4, HadCM3 and PCM) run with A1FI (greatest climate forcing caused by fossil fuel usage) and B1 (least climate forcing caused by fossil fuel usage) SERS emission scenarios. The climate data were generated for nine grids (1.0o latitude x 1.5o longitude), covering 11.5–17.5 oN by 24–36 °E, were selected so as to cover the current climate conditions of Sudanese Sahel region. Climate data from TYN SC 2.0 dataset were extracted. Baseline (1961-1990) observed monthly mean values of same climate variables were extracted from the CRU TS 2.1 dataset. The climate data were calculated as the average of the resulting six TYN/CRU grids per study grid. A simple water balance model, WATBAL, was parameterized for woodland vegetation and two soil types, arenosols (AR) and vertisols (VR) using HWSD soil data, to give monthly water-use (ETc_adj) values for the baseline data and each climate change scenario dataset. Water-use efficiency (WUE, g C m-2 mm-1) for each study grid was calculated as mean above- ground biomass C density (g C m-2) divided by ETc_adj (mm).
Grid baseline annual rainfall ranged from 5 to 55 mm and temperature from 23.3 to 29.2 °C. Mean annual air temperature increased under all 10 climate change and SERS scenarios and for all nine grids (+1.2 to +8.3 °C), while rainfall either increased (+1 to +30 mm) or decreased (-1 to -16 mm), depending on scenario and study grid. Grid baseline ETc_adj varied from 56 to 595 mm and WUE from 0.106 to 0.462 g C m-2 mm-1, depending on grid and soil type. Compared to AR soils, VR soils had equal or greater water-use and equal or less WUE. Depending on climate change scenario and grid, the relative water-use (scenario/baseline) of woodlands varied from 0.54 to 6.79 for VR soils and from 0.61 to 4.33 for AR soils while that of WUE varied from 0.50 to 2.44 for VR soils and from 0.46 to 2.22 for AR soils. The largest relative changes in water-use were associated with the drier grids. WUE decreased for the drier grids, but either decreased or increased for the wetter grids, depending on SRES.
Our results indicate that the water-use in the Sahel region will strongly depend on the degree and nature of climate change and adaptation of woodlands.
E Dounias and B Locatelli
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), France
Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomiquepour le Développement (CIRAD), France
Center for International Forestry Research, France
Impacts of climate change on tropical rainforests are lesser known than impacts on other biomes. Firstly, amplitudes in climate fluctuations are moderate in rainforests that also face lesser occurrences of catastrophic extremes. Secondly, there is more pending uncertainty regarding trends on climate change in humid forests, which seem to be more resilient than other ecosystems to climate disturbances. Lastly, effects of climate change are overshadowed by deforestation, which constitutes a much heavier threat on rainforests.
Because the incidence of climate change in tropical forests is subtle and poorly understood, we need to investigate forest dwellers’ perceptions with much greater attention. Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) may play a fantastic role as sentinels of the forest as they would help the scientific community to better document the effects of climate change in places where these effects are poorly known.
We propose to focus our presentation on bio-temporal signals that are determining events upon which IPLCs have acquired the capacity to anticipate on climate fluctuations. Bio-temporal signals are from different kinds: visual, sonorous, olfactory, tactile, etc. IPLCs mobilize a beam of converging signals, a combination of determining events upon which they organize the calendar of their activities and take their decisions to invest in some activities and not in others.
Among the various sources of bio-temporal signals that forest dwellers refer to, insects are probably the most accurate and the most fascinating. Insects are sensitive to very subtle fluctuations of climatic conditions not perceptible to humans. Pollinating insects play a keystone role as natural ecosystem engineers by maintaining a high biodiversity. Around 80% of the flowering plant species on our planet are known to reproduce by pollination. Many pollinating insects are under threat and alerts us about the damages caused by humans and induced climate change on terrestrial ecosystems. Countless species of—sting as well as stingless—bees also produce honey and equally serve biodiversity. Similarly ignored are the countless forms of traditional ecological knowledge that are mobilized throughout the tropics to hunt wild honey or to keep beehives in a sustainable manner, through various and extensive proto-domestication practices. Bees—and other pollinating insects alike—act as prominent bio-temporal signals, which efficiently alert IPLCs on subtle environmental disturbances.
The analysis of traditional entomological knowledge may be an efficient way of approaching forest dwellers’ perceptions of ongoing climate change and their induced adaptive strategies to adjust their livelihoods and mitigate their vulnerability.
We advocate in favour of a greater involvement of IPLCs into the process of assessing the poorly visible impacts of climate change on tropical forests. Through their extensive knowledge and know-how, IPLCs could play a determining role as “sentinels” by providing first-hand and accurate observations and supplying databases that dramatically fail at incorporating anthropological data into the elaboration of predictive models on climate change.
G Fisk1 and L Raphael
BMT WBM Pty Ltd, Australia
The National Climate Change Adaptation Framework identifies key strategies to build capacity to deal with climate change impacts and reduce vulnerability in key sectors and regions. Consistent with the Framework, the Australian Government Department of Climate Change has undertaken the National Coastal Vulnerability Assessment (NCVA), which aims to assess the potential impacts and consequences of climate change for Australian coastal communities, and to describe the benefits and costs of adaptation.
This presentation describes one component of the NCVA; a case study of potential impacts, risks and adaptation strategies for the South Alligator River catchment in the Kakadu National Park of the Northern Territory.The internationally recognized natural and cultural values of Kakadu are viewed as being particularly susceptible to sea level rise and the increased intensity of storms and flooding associated with climate change. The case study modelled the hydrodynamics of the South Alligator River to assess the risk of salt water intrusion and extreme rainfall events on low-lying floodplain wetlands and the implications of government planning, management and policy responses. The adopted approach provided a basis for assessing the potential impacts and risks of various climate change scenarios at 2030 and 2070, and the development of adaptation options for implementation within the South Alligator River catchment in consultation with the site manager (Parks Australia), Traditional Owners and key stakeholders.
This presentation provides an overview of the main components of the adaptation planning approach used in the study including the development of a tool kit of adaptation options developed for the site and an acceptability framework to provide an observational-based structure for implementation of adaptation options.
In terms of broader implications and significance, the study developed and refined a risk assessment and adaptation planning process that could be used for similar assessments of coastal systems elsewhere in tropical Australia. In particular, in addition to the review of implications on natural values such as habitats and notable wetlands species, the case study was able to describe and assess impacts on cultural values based on indigenous cultural knowledge and information about the wetlands provided by the Bininj people of Kakadu through consultation and involvement with Traditional Owners and Parks Australia staff.
J Marengo, C S Chan, E Almeida, L Alves and L Francinete
Earth Systems Sciences Center, National Institute for Space Research, Brazil
Centro de Previsão de Tempo e Estudos Climáticos National Institute for Space Research, , Brazil
Laboratório de Meteorologia de Pernambuco, Instiuto de Technologica de Pernambuco, Federal University of Pernambuca, Brazil
This review represents the state-of-the-art of knowledge on climate variability and climate change in the semi-arid region of Northeastern Brazil, focusing on impact and vulnerability assessments, and adaptation options. The Brazilian Northeast occupies 1.600.000 km2 of the nation’s territory and in 62% of this area contains the so called “Poligono da seca” (Drought Polygon). This polygon is a semi-arid region of 940,000 km2, which covers nine states of the Northeast and which faces a chronic problem of lack of water, with rainfall levels of less than 800 mm a year. In the semi-arid region there are approximately 30 million inhabitants, or about 15% of the national population. These numbers make this area the most densely populated dry region in the world. The irregularity of rainfall is a constant obstacle to the development of agricultural activities and the lack of efficient systems to store water – which are almost always controlled by a minority – intensifies the negative social impacts. To make things worse, strong cycles of drought customarily occur in the region in intervals varying from a few years to even decades. These cycles work together to permanently destroy the already fragile living conditions of small farmers and other poorer groups, and are often the excuse needed to leave the region. Therefore, this is perhaps the most vulnerable region of South America to climate variations and change.
The main objective of this presentation is to provide tools for discussion on and the implementation of regional environmental policies for adaptation to climate change. The evidence provided by the climate history in the region suggests that the semi-arid region of Northeast Brazil is vulnerable to the extremes of climate variability, particularly to drought, as is becoming evident in the droughts during some El Niño events. On longer timescales, future climate change projections suggest the occurrence of droughts and desertification, as a consequence of global warming that may affect the population, agriculture and natural ecosystems. The contents of this study include analyses of climatic tendencies detected during the last 50 years based on observations. In addition, analyses of climate change projections up to the end of the 21st Century (year 2100) are made using the global climate change projections released by the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as using the results of the climate change projections derived from the downscaling of the HadCM3 global model using the Eta regional model (40 km) produced by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), for mean climate as well as extreme climate events.
E J Narayan, J-M Hero
Environmental Futures Centre, Griffith Unversity, Australia
Global climate change is considered one of the key threats to amphibians (Hero et al. 2006). Amphibians are extremely sensitive to small changes in temperature and moisture (Corn, 2005), and El Niño events or global warming have the potential to alter the timing of breeding, immune functions and sensitivity to pathogenic infections such as Chytridiomycosis (Beebee 1995; Berger 2001; Blaustein et al. 2001, 2003; Bradley et al. 2002; Carey and Alexander, 2003; Gervasi et al. 2008; Gibbs and Breisch 2001). The physiological mechanisms, behavioural responses and morphology of amphibians have enabled species survival under extreme terrestrial environments for millions of years. However, currently amphibian populations are declining worldwide and majority of the declines have been concentrated in upland or montane areas with varying environmental conditions and a key question arising is whether the frogs at higher elevations are able to adapt to short and long-term changes in their surroundings. Recent studies have shown that the endogenous reproductive hormonal mechanisms in amphibians (e.g. initiation of spermatogenesis and oogenesis) are strongly associated with climate (Lynch and Wilczynski, 2006; Narayan et al. 2010; Rastogi et al. 2005). Traditionally, ecologists rarely considered the physiological mechanisms controlling the breeding phenology of amphibians, leaving substantial gaps in knowledge on how amphibians might adapt to climate change. In this study, we attempt to bridge the gap between the physiological and ecological processes by investigating the changes in physiological (hormonal) mechanisms of wet forest frogs living along altitudinal and temporal gradients in South-east Queensland. The effects of temperature and rainfall on the endocrine system and, changes in immune function and susceptibility to chytrid fungus are explored, thus discussing the physiological adaptation of wet forest frogs to climate change. Futhermore, this study provides new information on reproductive hormonal cycles of various native Australian frog species. This information is urgently needed to understand the physiological response of wet forest frogs to climate, providing new insights into amphibian population declines and adaptation for climate change.
A Penny, R Tobin, S Sutton, N Marshall and A Tobin
Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Australia
CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia
Climate change models predict there will be an increase in the proportion of intense (category 3 to 5) tropical cyclones in northern Australia. Intense cyclones can have significant impacts on coral reef structure, associated reef fish, and the fisheries they support. It will be vital to understand how fisheries react to intense cyclones to explore how fishers and fisheries may adapt to these events, ensuring the sustainability and resilience of tropical fisheries in the future.
Tropical Cyclone Hamish (Category 5) traversed the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in early March 2009, in an area where 70% of the commercial Coral Reef Finfish Fishery catch was previously harvested. While this cyclone did not cross the coast (and was therefore not considered a ‘natural disaster’ in legislative terms), commercial fishers reported substantial impacts to both the coral reef structure and the catch of important coral reef species. Fishers’ reactions and concerns prompted a tactical collaborative research project to investigate the reaction of fish and fishers to the cyclone. This poster focuses on the fishers, exploring the adaptability and vulnerability of fishers and the industry to major environmental events like Cyclone Hamish, and fishers’ opinions regarding the linkage of such events with climate change.
Most fishers working in the area directly affected by the cyclone reported extensive damage to reef structure and reduced catch rates, particularly of the main target species, coral trout, which are sold almost exclusively on the high value live fish market. The most common adaptive measure was for fishers to move, fishing more northern waters, although this was limited by boat size, among other factors. This reaction in turn affected more northern fishers, concentrating effort in limited areas. Fisheries managers, in an attempt to help fishers adapt to reduced catches of coral trout, adapted restrictive filleting regulations theoretically allowing fishers to increase profits made on other species. While this was initially seen as a positive step, few fishers found it helpful given the lack of markets for the ‘new’ product. Fishers suggested numerous other options to assist with adaptation in the future. In particular, fishers would like to see a management framework in place to respond to extreme events as there is for farmers impacted by natural disasters.
Fishers tended to be wary and concerned by cyclones but tend to accepted them as a natural phenomenon. Interestingly, fishers did not relate Cyclone Hamish to climate change. Further, they did not believe climate change will affect the ability of the GBR to support sustainable fisheries.
This project provided a real-time example of how fishers and fisheries adapt to major environmental events, and options for managers and the industry to improve or assist with adaptation when such events occur in the future.
J McGregor, J Katzfey, K Nguyen and M Thatcher
CSIRO Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Australia
Coupled atmosphere-ocean Global Climate Models (GCMs) are increasingly being used to simulate future climate change under various emission scenarios. Because of their computational expense, the grid resolution of those GCMs is typically around 200 km, which is too coarse to directly provide realistic climate simulations for most islands, or regions with steep orography or complex land-use. An approach that has become fairly common, is to use regional climate models, driven in some manner by a coupled GCM, to simulate the climate at smaller length scales. Some groups use limited-area modelsfor this purpose, driven at the lateral boundaries by a host GCM, and this approach was originally used at CSIRO with the DARLAM model. For about the last 10 years, downscaling at CSIRO has been performed instead with a variable- resolution global atmospheric model, the Conformal-Cubic Atmospheric Model (CCAM). With computational and technical advances, it is now possible to run models, such as CCAM, downscaled from a variety of host models and scenarios.
A number of simulations will be shown over the Australian region, showing the monsoonal precipitation response. These include 140-year simulations at 60 km resolution, driven by the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and sea- ice distributions of the CSIRO Mk 3.5 coupled GCM, as well as for five coupled GCMs from the IPCC Fourth Assessment (AR4): GFDL2.1, GFDL2.0, HadCM2, ECHAM5 and Miroc-Medres, all for the A2 emission scenario. This set of downscaled simulations produces an ensemble of regional climate change scenarios.
Quasi-uniform global CCAM simulations have also been performed at 200 km driven by the SSTs of the same coupled GCMs. These have been further downscaled to a resolution of 60 km over Southeast Asia, employing a digital filter technique to preserve the large-scale patterns of the 200 km simulations. The same technique is being used for downscaling to even finer resolution over individual islands. The various simulations are compared for their present- day climatology and for their climate change response. Downscaling simulations are also being performed at high resolution over selected Pacific island countries as part of the Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP).