Work Package 5 – Synthesis and final report

As well as summarising and synthesising the results from the preceding work packages, in a form suitable for policymakers and forest managers, Work Package 5 will cover:

  • Regional vulnerabilities. This will provide stakeholders with a summary of the impacts and the potential for adaptation at the regional scale. For the purposes of this section, the classification in Figure 1 will be used, based around the 10 regions identified by Hobbs and McIntyre (2005).
  • Gaps and research needs. Identification of key knowledge gaps and more detailed analyses required to develop improved adaptations to climate change and reduce vulnerability of plantations, farm forestry/environmental plantings and native forests.
Current changes in climate and future predicted changes in climate set unprecedented challenges for forest managers. Assembling, reviewing and synthesising current research is an essential step in understanding and planning for future vulnerabilities and a mammoth task to be undertaken by the Forest Vulnerability Assessment work packages 1-4. However, not only will different classes of forest use (e.g. amenity planting versus plantation forests) require different information sets, but each region of the country will have diverse knowledge needs, vulnerabilities and predicted changes in climate.
Historic climate records and modelling of future climates has shown that each region of Australia is and will experience differential changes in climate. For example, on a state-by-state basis up to 1995, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory experienced on average a 15% increase in rainfall while Queensland and Tasmania steadily dried (Hennessy et al., 1999). .
Future predictions of rainfall patterns are limited because of the differences in modelling techniques and the complication of predicting changes in the El Nino Southern oscillation (Hughes, 2003) but variable trends are most likely with more drying of the south-west, parts of the south-east and Queensland. Best management outcomes for the forestry sector will be to build resilience into these systems. Understanding the potential impacts, risks and vulnerabilities at a regional scale will be an essential part of building resilience and developing adaptability.

Hobbs & McIntyre region classification map

Figure 1. After Hobbs and McIntyre (2005) classification with region names used by Greening Australia. 
  1. To summarise and synthesise materials developed by Work Packages 1-4 in a format suitable for policymakers and land managers.
  2. To repackage the information collated by Work Packages 1-4 in a regional context including identification of region-specific vulnerabilities.
  3. To Identify critical gaps in research knowledge and provide a synthesis of research needs to improve adaptive management of forest landscapes.
The report will use the vulnerability assessment method described in the AGO (2005) Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability report, with assessments of exposure and sensitivity leading to evaluation of potential impact, while consideration of potential impact and adaptive capacity lead to the vulnerability assessment (See AGO 2005 for definitions). In addition there will be a summary document of around 20 pages.
Forest Resources, Climate Change and the Law – A Legal Review
Work Package 5 was also charged with a review of the legal issues in relation to climate change and the Australian forest estate. This review was conducted by Professor Douglas Fisher from the Queensland University of Technology and is contributing to the WP5 Synthesis Report.