Climate change a huge threat to Australian biodiversity
Future climate change is likely to wreak havoc on the country’s plants, animals and ecosystems according to a study published by the CSIRO.
The study highlights the inherent sensitivity of Australia’s species and ecosystems to climate change, and argues for the need for new ways of thinking about biodiversity conservation.
“Climate change is likely to start to transform some of Australia's natural landscapes by 2030,” lead researcher, CSIRO’s Dr Michael Dunlop said.
“By 2070, the ecological impacts are likely to be very significant and widespread. Many of the environments our plants and animals currently exist in will disappear from the continent. Our grandchildren are likely to experience landscapes that are very different to the ones we have known.”
Dr Dunlop’s research warns that climate change will accentuate existing threats to biodiversity, water extraction and compound issues surrounding invasive species.
“These other threats have reduced the ability of native species and ecosystems to cope with the impacts of climate change,” Dr Dunlop said.
Dr Dunlop said the study shows that Australian scientists and policy makers will need to rethink what it means to conserve biodiversity as managing invasive species and stopping ecological change becomes increasingly difficult.
“We need to give biodiversity the greatest opportunity to adapt naturally in a changing and variable environment rather than trying to prevent ecological change,” Dr Dunlop said.
“To be effective we also need flexible strategies that can be implemented well ahead of the large-scale ecological change. It will probably be too late to respond once the ecological change is clearly apparent and widespread.”
The full study can be found here