National Climate Change Adaptation Research Plan for Terrestrial Biodiversity

TitleNational Climate Change Adaptation Research Plan for Terrestrial Biodiversity
Publication TypeResearch Plan
Notes

Project Page  Final Report

Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHughes, L, Hobbs, R, Hopkins, A, McDonald, J, Smith, MStafford, Steffen, W, Williams, S, Stadler, F
ISBN Number978‑1‑921609‑11‑4
Abstract

This NARP was updated in 2013 to reflect the contribution of new research to practitioner knowledge needs, as well as the evolving requirements of practitioners.

Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities are driving changes in global climate. The magnitude of the recent physical changes is greater than at any time during human civilisation and, importantly, the rate of change is faster. The IPCC (2007b) has highlighted the fact that biodiversity is likely to be the most vulnerable sector for the Australia and New Zealand region (as it is in general around the world). This vulnerability is a consequence of the rate of change being too rapid for most species to adapt to by genetic change, and the interaction of climate change with many other existing pressures on natural systems.

Climate change, especially changes to CO2 concentrations, temperature and precipitation, will affect the basic physical and chemical environment underpinning all life. Species will be affected individually by these changes, with flow-on effects for the structure and composition of present day ecological communities, and potentially for changes in how ecosystems function and the services they provide. There will be direct impacts on ecosystem processes such as net primary productivity, nutrient cycling, carbon uptake, and decomposition. Species, communities and ecosystems will also be affected indirectly, as climatic changes affect important processes such as fire and disease. Some of these changes are already evident, while others may occur over several decades or longer.

Effective adaptation is needed in order to minimise negative impacts on biodiversity and realise potential opportunities. Planned adaptation will involve modifications to current management practices, including the networking of protected areas, restoration of essential habitats and, in some cases, engineered strategies designed to increase the ability of species or systems to be more resilient to change.

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