Climate change adaptation in the Australian Alps: Impacts, strategies, limits and management
A strong awareness of climate change occurrence and impact identification exists among stakeholders within the Australian Alps, primarily due to the fairly direct links between increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation and natural snow cover. Data also shows that changes have already occurred in the region, including: reduced natural snow cover, changes in fire frequency and intensity, changes in the timing of biological events such as flowering, animal migration/movement, and in plant and animal distributions. Planning for change, utilising a range of climate change adaptation strategies, and acknowledging a wide range of biophysical, economic and social limits to those strategies is also well demonstrated in the region. For example, although snow-making is the primary climate change adaptation response by the tourism industry, it will not be economically, physically or socially acceptable in the future. While stakeholders were capable of identifying a wide range of climate change impacts, a major gap identified in current stakeholder assessment of climate change is the importance of the Alps catchment nationally, particularly the importance of its water for Australia’s economy ($10 billion/annum for actual water and products from industries reliant on water supplies from the Alps). This is one of the six case studies conducted for NCCARF’s ‘Limits to Adaptation’ project to explore the underlying causes and potential to transcend limits in particular regions. A companion factsheet to this report can be found here. A factsheet synthesising the key findings from the 'Limits to Adaptation project' is available here.
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