Throwing out the rat with the bath water

Sea level rise and other threats for mangroves and their creatures

Sea level rise is nothing new. At one point in time it was possible to walk from Queensland to the Papuan highlands. Climate change isn’t new either; it’s the pace of change that’s different. It’s also a different landscape over which species and ecosystems need to move in order to adapt to the impacts of climate change. We
recently undertook an analysis of what this means for species and ecosystems in south eastern Queensland and our results suggest we can’t afford to ignore these factors if we don’t want to lose more species.

Prior to human influence, systems and species’ populations may have adapted to phenomena such as sea level rise. But everything is different now. Wetland habitats are threatened by numerous and interacting factors. Habitat loss through sea level rise is the most obvious of these. But this impact is compounded by urban and agricultural development because wetland ecosystems such as mangroves no longer have the capacity to migrate inland as ocean levels increase. Pollution, introduced animals and plants and (projected) shifts in rainfall and temperature regimes will make wetland conservation particularly challenging…





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