What you will find on this page: LATEST NEWSwe are the asteroid (video); impacts & adaptation NRM regions; knowing what to protect; management & planningclimate zones on the move; invasive species; examples of ecosystem impacts; latest news; information & resource sites; also refer to pages “impacts observed & projected” and” population & consumption” as the issues are closely related 

Latest News

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Changing climate – adaptation on the run or extinction

 

Scientists’ Heighten Concerns About Global Extinctions

5 August 2015, Monthly Yale Climate Connections video (above) explores scientists’ concerns over pace and extent of species extinctions. One sentiment expressed: ‘We are the asteroid.’ The global rate of extinctions, “already very large,” is “ramping up” . . . with climate change helping bring about that “acceleration,” scientist James White of the University of Colorado cautions in this month’s “This is not Cool” Yale Climate Connections video. White’s concerns over extinctions are echoed by scientists James Hansen of Columbia University, Eric Rignot of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Gerardo Ceballos of the National University of Mexico, Jonathan Payne of Stanford University, Lee Kump of Penn State University, and Stephanie Kitkiewicz of MIT. Read More here

Biodiversity threats

CSIRO concludes: Climate change will impact Australia’s biodiversity conservation and protected areas: There is compelling evidence, gathered over past decades, that the impacts of climate change on the world’s biodiversity are likely to be significant. Protected areas (13.4 per cent of the country*) are crucial for conserving biodiversity and supporting ecological processes beneficial to human well-being. However, in most cases, planning and management frameworks for protected areas have historically been developed with little consideration future global climate change.

Impacts and adaptation information for Australia’s NRM regions

NRM climate projections cluster map

Across Australia research has been conducted to develop a deeper understanding of how climate change will impact upon the country’s unique and diverse natural resources and natural resource management (NRM) activities.

Click on the map to explore what adaptation research has been conducted to support natural resource managers to plan for and consider the impact of climate change for Australia’s regions. In these pages (arranged by clusters) you will access background information on the region, key messages about the impact of climate change, and reports and other relevant supporting material. (Ballarat is situated at the top of the Southern Slopes NRM region)

 

 

To protect you need to know what you are protecting

CSIRO: Making Australia’s biodiversity information accessible: Effective biodiversity research and management rely on comprehensive information about the species or ecosystems of interest. Without this information it is very difficult to obtain reliable results or make sound decisions. A major barrier to Australia’s biodiversity research and management efforts has been the fragmentation and inaccessibility of biodiversity data.

Data and information on Australian species has traditionally been housed in museums, herbaria, universities, and government departments and organisations. Obtaining records and data sets from these groups involved considerable time and effort, and often resulted in incomplete information. To overcome these issues, Australia’s biodiversity information needed to be brought together and made easily available in the one place.

Building a collaborative tool for sharing and analysing Australia’s biodiversity information: A collaboration between CSIRO, Australia’s museums and herbaria, universities, and the Australian Government established the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA); a national project focused on making biodiversity information accessible and usable. The ALA is funded by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). 

Since 2010, the ALA team has worked to aggregate Australia’s biodiversity information and make it available online via the ALA website . Founded on the principle of data sharing – collect it once, share it, use it many times – the ALA provides free, online access to more than 50 million occurrence records1, based on specimens from natural history collections, field observations and surveys. These records are enriched by additional information including molecular data, photographs, maps, sound recordings and literature.

The Climate Change in Australia website provides easy access to the projections information and data.The website houses 14 interactive tools for exploring data; a data download facility; a technical report describing the data sources, methods, observed changes and projections; reports and brochures that summarise the results for eight regions of Australia; a brochure on Data Delivery; a brochure on projections for selected cities; a Climate Campus for learning more about climate science and using projections in impact assessments; an online training course; and other resources for decision makers and communicators.

Observed changes will continue into the future: Temperature projections for Australia from three different greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions scenarios. Research has shown that most of the changes observed over recent decades will continue into the future. Projections suggest that for Australia:

    • hot days will become more frequent and hotter (very high confidence)
    • sea levels will rise (very high confidence)
    • oceans will become more acidic (very high confidence)
    • snow depths will decline (very high confidence)
    • extreme rainfall events are likely to become more intense (high confidence)

Management and Planning

CSIRO/NCCARF GUIDE: Implications of Climate Change for Biodiversity: A community-level modelling approach: Evidence over the last decade has shown that ecological change in response to climate change is unavoidable and will be widespread and substantial. Our ability to manage biodiversity through these changes depends on understanding what the nature of the change might be and where the potential for future persistence of biodiversity may be greatest. The scope of the challenge of adapting biodiversity management to climate change is shaped by the magnitude and extent of future climate change across Australian landscapes and by our ability to predict the associated ecological changes.

Biodiversity managers will also need to consider the interactions with other processes that threaten the resilience of biodiversity, including how future societies themselves shape the landscape. Future natural resource management (NRM) plans will then need to allow for extensive changes in biodiversity that are not entirely predictable. Plans may need to focus on supporting biodiversity through these changes, including adjusting objectives to better cater for climate change. It is in this context that we present two parts of the story bringing biodiversity and climate change into NRM planning.

  • The first part, this Guide and associated datasets and maps, feeds into the assessment phase of adaptation planning: a new way to view the magnitude, extent and type of changes in biodiversity is introduced.
  • The second Guide in this series, Helping Biodiversity Adapt, feeds into the strategic and implementation phases of planning, with a more specific focus on potential adaptation options. NOTE: To be released shortly

Both Guides present new types of information about the potential for broad shifts in biodiversity in response to climate change applied to four terrestrial biological groups – vascular plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians – for two plausible climate futures using the latest climate projection data.

Our new measures of change in biodiversity: It is challenging to develop a synthesised understanding of biodiversity change from many individual species models. This first Guide therefore introduces the concept of ‘ecological similarity’ for assessing the potential for broad shifts in biodiversity, as a whole, in response to climate and land use change. It uses a form of community-level modelling that considers the implications of climate change on all species simultaneously within a single integrated process. We use ecological similarity as a basis to produce four specific measures that each provide a different view of the magnitude and nature of likely change in biodiversity. These new whole-of-biodiversity measures present a different perspective on how particular biological groups may respond to climate change and implications for how managers may plan to intervene. In this Guide, we suggest ways in which this new information can be used to support specific tasks in planning, and encourage planners to develop their own approaches to build on these practical suggestions.

Climate zones on the move

While the “intelligent” species of this planet continue the never ending talkfest on the merits or otherwise of responding to climate change the rest of the travellers on Planet Earth are speaking with their feet/roots/wings/ wriggly bits. The debate for them is irrelevant they need to move, and are, to ensure their own survival. We unfortunately, other than the main cause for the need for them to move, are often in the way. A dilemma for us all.

You are a snail. You are a plant. You like where you are. The temperature’s right. It suits you.

climate zones moving

But then, gradually, over the years, it gets warmer. Not every day, of course, but on more and more days, the temperature climbs to uncomfortable highs, drying you out, making you tired, thirsty.

Melting temperatures melt the mood of critters accustomed to cooler climes.

 

 

Read on to find out what they do… An excellent presentation: Trees On The Move As Temperature Zones Shift 3.8 Feet (1.2m) A Day (19 February 2014) by Robert Krulwich 

 

 

6 May 2014, National Geographic: How a Few Species Are Hacking Climate Change
Animals can be surprisingly adaptable—but can they change quickly enough? As the Earth heats up, animals and plants are not necessarily helpless. They can move to cooler climes; they can stay put and adapt as individuals to their warmer environment, and they can even adapt as a species, by evolving. The big question is, will they be able to do any of that quickly enough? Most researchers believe that climate change is happening too fast for many species to keep up. (Related: “Rain Forest Plants Race to Outrun Global Warming.“)

But in recent weeks, the general gloom has been pierced by two rays of hope: Reports have come in of unexpected adaptive ability in endangered butterflies in California and in corals in the Pacific. Two isolated reports don’t, of course, diminish the gravity of the global threat. But they do highlight how little we still know about nature’s ability to cope with climate change. “Most of the models that ecologists are putting out are assuming that there’s no adaptive capacity. And that’s silly,” says Ary Hoffmann, a geneticist at the University of Melbourne in Australia and the co-author of an influential review of climate change-related evolution. “Organisms are not static.”

That species are on the move is becoming obvious not just to scientists but also to gardeners and nature-lovers everywhere. Butterflies are living higher up on mountains; trees are moving north in North America and Europe. In North Carolina, residents are still agog at encountering nine-banded armadillos, which have invaded the state from the south. A 2011 review of data on hundreds of moving species found a median shift to higher altitudes of 36 feet (11 meters) per decade and a median shift to higher latitudes of about 10.5 miles (17 kilometers) per decade. There’s also a clear warming-related trend in the timing of natural events. One study suggests that spring shifted 1.7 days earlier between 1954 and 2007. Insects are emerging earlier; birds are nesting earlier; plants are flowering and leafing out earlier. The latest of such natural events studies, out last month, shows that climate change has stretched out the wildflower bloom season in Colorado by 35 days. Read More here

See Also: Larger Animals Show Greatest Response to Climate Change

Climate change and invasive species

 
invasives-climate-change