Challenge and opportunity as climate change impacts the icy continent KEY MESSAGES: Antarctica is being impacted by climate change, invasive species and an expanding human footprint Ice-free areas, home to nearly all Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity, are projected to dramatically expand by 2100 with potentially severe consequences for native species There is no better time than […]
Planning for an expanding ice-free Antarctica
Public ‘willingness-to-pay’ for co-benefits Key messages: Adopting carbon farming practices often leads to a loss in profit for farmers We estimated the public’s ‘willingness-to-pay’ for the co-benefits of carbon farming Respondents were willing to pay $19.20 per year for every extra hectare of native vegetation, and $1.13 per year for every metric tonne of CO2-e […]
A review of climate change impacts on ecosystem services Key messages: We carried out the first quantitative synthesis of the literature on climate change impacts on ecosystem services We found: more research needs to take place in regions with a lower capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change using (only) expert opinions to […]
Australians could see suitable environments for the country’s iconic eucalypt trees in decline within a generation, according to new international research involving a CEED Researcher Nathalie Butt. The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, paint a stark picture with the habitat of more than 90% of eucalypt species set to decline, with 16 […]
Following a recent international coral science conference, CEED researcher Jennifer McGowan led a short correspondence to Nature asking to researchers and managers not to lose sight of where they can make the most difference. “The message of the correspondence aims to unite the coral reef science and management communities after the International Coral Reef Symposium […]
Southeast Queensland’s waterways provide over $10 billion annually in economic benefits through drinking water supply, fishing, tourism, and recreation. But these goods and services are under threat from intensive agricultural, urban development and climate change.
Planning for a transition zone in a time of climate change KEY MESSAGES: Subtropical and temperate reefs are currently undergoing ‘tropicalisation’ Going from tropical to temperate reefs, species richness in corals and fishes declines, but that of algae, echinoderms and other invertebrates can increase We should aim to conserve sites that consistently remain important for […]
With climate change now posing a clear and present danger all around the planet, scientists are calling for more intelligence in the decisions we make about how we adapt, especially in relation to our ecosystems. In many cases, leaving these ecosystems intact would be the smartest and most cost-effective insurance policy we could have. That’s […]
Why interactions between climate and landscape change matter for conservation priorities It was becoming increasingly clear that an approach to conservation that deals with threats one by one without considering how those threats interact is inadequate when biodiversity is threatened by multiple, co-occurring stressors. For example, in Decision Point #57 I showed how species in […]
And that has consequences for all birds and mammals that depend on them The impacts of climate change on species are well-recognised and, in many cases, already happening. These impacts include shifts in species’ distributions and changes in productivity. These changes in productivity can be driven by longer growing seasons in mid to high latitudes, […]
Freshwater habitats are critically important for a broad range of animals and plants (see the article, ‘the importance of freshwater habitat’) and they are in trouble. Worldwide these habitats are experiencing declines in biodiversity far greater than those being experienced in other terrestrial and marine ecosystems. New research involving EDG modelling is hoping to help managers identify how this decline might be best dealt with.
The translocation of species for conservation involves both the restoration of historic populations (moving organisms to where they once occurred) to managing the relocation of imperiled species to new locations (moving organisms from a place where they are increasingly unable to survive to a place where they might be able to thrive, say in the face of climate change). It’s a challenging management strategy that usually comes with high risk and high cost, yet it is increasingly being considered.
Pictured below is an eastern yellow robin building its nest in a gum tree using thin strips of red stringybark. The nest also contains flakes of box gum, yellow box and long-leaf box delicately woven into the rim, or stitched to form a hanging skirt around the side of the nest. A beautiful bird building a work of art high in the bough of Australia’s iconic tree species. Climate change promises to have profound impacts on the distribution of gum trees right across Australia. And, of course (and as this image graphically demonstrates), those impacts will have consequences for the broud suite of organisms that depend on these trees. See the story on the climate change impacts on gum trees in Decision Point #72.
Tropical Montane Cloud Forests (TMCFs) are special places created by specific processes. They are found in the tropics, at mid-altitude on the windward slopes, where the clouds intersect with the mountains. The persistent cloud cover over the canopy of the forest maintains the high annual precipitation (500–1000 mm) and humidity. It also ameliorates intense sunlight, maintaining a mean temperature of 12–23°C.
Eucalypts are iconic trees in Australian landscapes, and given the variety of treed landscapes that are found across Australia, that’s an amazing thing to consider. There are around 800 species (eucalypt taxonomy is a moveable feast) of three genera, Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora that together are known as eucalypts or gum trees, and these trees have dominance or co-dominance in most forest and woodland ecosystems in Australia. You’ll find them in rainforests, up mountains and across the arid zone.
Late last year the Australian Institute of Marine Science put out a rather scary report on the state of the Great Barrier Reef. It said the Reef has lost half its coral cover in the last 27 years! The loss was due to storm damage (48%), crown of thorns starfish (42%), and bleaching (10%).
Basically, the big storms are coming more frequently than the reef can absorb, higher water temperatures are causing widespread coral bleaching and rampaging swarms of crown of thorns starfish are eating up huge areas of coral.
Like many important ecosystems, seagrasses will be hit hard by climate change. Some of those impacts relate to rising sea level. New research by a multi-disciplinary team at the University of Queensland has found that local action that improves water quality, and specifically its clarity, might go some way to compensating for rising sea level.
Seagrasses are marine plants that live in shallow coastal seas. They provide us with a range of valuable ecological services including the provision of habitat for fish and invertebrates, and food for turtles and dugongs.