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SYNTHESIS SUMMARY 6

Terrestrial
ecosystems

Increasing
temperatures,
more frequent
and severe extreme
weather events
and declining rainfall
have already resulted
in observable shifts in
the behaviour of terrestrial
plants and animals, and more
widespread impacts are evident
on all terrestrial ecosystems.
About this summary
About this series This summary addresses adaptation actions to support
Between 2008 and 2013, terrestrial ecosystem conservation and function in a changing
the Australian Government climate. The opening pages provide the context including
funded a large nationwide
the nature and impacts of climate change (‘Why we need to
Adaptation Research Grant
Program (the ARG Program) adapt’) followed by a synthesis of research findings around the
in climate change adaptation. impacts and adaptation response in terrestrial ecosystems (‘The
The Program was managed by research base …’). It concludes with a summary of how this new
the National Climate Change
Adaptation Research Facility
research knowledge might help address key adaptation policy
(NCCARF). It resulted in over challenges. This final section is informed by a workshop held
100 research reports that with practitioners (‘Evidence-based policy implications’).
delivered new knowledge on
every aspect of adaptation.
The aim of the Program was This brief was developed by members and staff of NCCARF’s
to help build a nation more National Adaptation Network for Natural Ecosystems, with input
resilient to the effects of on the policy challenges developed in workshops held in Hobart
climate change and better
placed to take advantage of
(Tasmania) and Canberra (ACT) in March 2016. The workshops
the opportunities. were attended by practitioners, policymakers and managers
from within local, state and federal government organisations,
This series of Synthesis
Summaries is based on community service organisations, not-for-profit organisations
research findings from the and universities.
ARG Program, augmented
by relevant new literature and
evidence from practitioners. The key research reports used to develop this summary are
The series seeks to deliver highlighted in Section 4. To see all reports from the ARG
some of the policy-relevant Program, please visit www.nccarf.edu.au/adaptation-library.
research evidence to support
decision-making for climate
change adaptation in Australia
in a short summary. It takes
an approach identified through
consultation with relevant
stakeholders about the needs
of the intended audience of
policymakers, decision-makers
and managers in the public
and private sectors.

2
Key findings
Five principal adaptation challenges emerge from the research evidence:

1. Identify key adaptation pathways and principles for managing ecosystems: Existing
approaches to managing terrestrial ecosystems come from a history of significant investment
in a particular conservation philosophy: managing in place, using pre-European settlement as
a conservation benchmark and focusing on rare and threatened species (e.g. the Environment
Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, reserve systems). Climate change has altered the
current view of how to prioritise values of conservation, and it is clear that more nimble and flexible
approaches will be needed (see Section 2.3).

2. Work across jurisdictions and tenure and identify roles and responsibilities: Climate
change will mean many species and ecosystems can no longer survive in their current locations.
Planning is likely to be most effective when undertaken at a landscape scale and where greater
flexibility in management is encouraged. Working at the landscape scale will require greater
cooperation and collaboration across jurisdictions and tenures.

3. Define new social, economic and ideological values to drive land management and
policy arrangements: Climate change will mean prioritising new environmental and social values,
and this will change what we are managing for, for example, individual species, ecosystem function or
ecosystem resilience.

4. Use new tools to make decisions: New decision support tools and decision frameworks are
becoming available to help incorporate the new principles and values of land management that
are emerging under climate change into decision-making. The use of quantitative techniques to
demonstrate effectiveness, such as cost–benefit analysis, and the search for co-benefits, for example
through carbon sequestration, are likely to become important in decision-making.

5. Collaborate to manage new challenges, conflicting goals and inherited problems:


Land managers may be faced not only with new challenges, but interaction and escalation of existing
problems and conflicting management goals. For example, will movement corridors create new fire
risks? These new challenges highlight the need for collaborative approaches between a range of
experts. Existing approaches (e.g. assessing species vulnerability, identifying the costs and benefits of
a management option, assessing the potential invasiveness of a species) will need to draw on existing
knowledge and expertise but will also need to incorporate new time and geographical scales.

3
1. Why we need to adapt

1.1 The climate context Much of Australia’s terrestrial 1.2 Key risks
The Australian average surface air biodiversity is adapted to the Natural ecosystems have
temperature has risen by 0.9 °C specific conditions found in its been identified as one of
since 1910 and the number of current range, but predictions the most vulnerable sectors to
extremely hot days increased indicate that species will climate change in Australia.
(Figure 1), and if greenhouse experience substantially different Key risks include:
gas emissions continue under local environments in the near
• Extinction of some species,
a business-as-usual scenario, future from those they experience
particularly those with restricted
Australia’s temperatures are now (Figure 3). Increases in warm
or fragmented geographic
projected to increase a further weather, heat extremes and a
distributions and/or specialised
2.8–5.1 °C by the end of the decline in rainfall will force species
ecological requirements,
century (Figure 2). Current and to adjust to those environmental
including narrow climatic
predicted changes in temperature changes, through shifts in range
tolerances. While some
and rainfall are expected to cause and/or behaviour and physiology,
species are likely to move or
major shifts in climatic zones and or become extinct.
disperse into more suitable
result in hotter, drier conditions More information on the climate climate conditions, for some
across the majority of Australia. context is available in: species moving to a more
Along with an increase in extreme
• NCCARF Terrestrial Biodiveristy suitable climate is limited by
weather events – including
Report Card24 CSIRO and dispersal capabilities and/
drought, fire, heat waves and
or geographical barriers.
flooding – these changes are • Bureau of Meterology Climate
already having significant impacts Change in Australia4 • Population losses are also
on biodiversity, including changes expected due to climatic shifts,
• AdaptNRM - Implications extreme heat or drought events
in species distributions, timing
of Climate Change for or fire. Heat-related mass
of biological behaviours and
Biodiversity Guide45 mortality in individual animal
changed ecological interactions.

Figure 1 Number of extremely hot days (the Australian area-averaged daily mean temperature is above the 99th percentile)
in each year for the period 1910–2013. Half of these extremely hot days have occurred in the past twenty years. Source:
Bureau of Meteorology.2
4
species (e.g. flying foxes) climate change will increase the
has been recorded for some geographic range and impact of
time. Plants can likewise invasive species such as weeds,
die following extreme heat disease and pests. Removing
events, with some species or minimising existing human
more vulnerable than others. stressors such as habitat loss and
invasive species will continue to
• Changes in species
be important; however, climate
assemblages are likely
change will be an additional as
to be the long-term
well as an exacerbating stressor
outcome of extinctions,
on top of existing threats. It will
losses and migration.
become even more important
• Other risks include loss to remove or minimise existing
of ecosystem services stressors, especially those that
and changed species may benefit from climate change
interactions (for example, (e.g. the invasive cane toad may
seasonal mismatch), including benefit from climate change
pollinator services and more than native frogs). Climate
predator–prey interactions. change will also have a variety of
Climate change will also interact flow-on effects on biodiversity;
with other threats, including for instance, increased CO2 Figure 2 Annual mean temperature
habitat loss and invasive species. concentrations lower the nutritional for present (a) and for late 21st century
For example, human-induced quality of foliage, which in (b). Annual mean temperature is
turn reduces its digestibility projected to increase by 2.8–5.1 °C
land-use changes such as
by herbivores.15 across the continent. Source: ©
urbanisation and farming can Commonwealth of Australia 2015,
produce barriers to distributional Bureau of Meteorology.4
shifts. There is also evidence that

Figure 3 An example of the amount of change in ecological communities we might see under climate change by 2050. The
darker the colour, the greater the change in the ecosystem from its composition in 1990. The scenarios on the left uses a
‘mild’ climate scenario, while the one on the right is for a ‘hot’ climate scenario. The four categories of similarity represented in
the legend from dark (greatest change) to light (least change) from left to right are 0.25, 0.50, 0.75 and 1.00.45 5
2. The research base informing
biodiversity and ecosystems under climate

2.1 Impacts are Predicted future impacts may and species richness will occur
already happening include a decline in specialist under all future climate change
The impacts of climate change on alpine ecosystems, such as snow scenarios. They found 88% of
Australian biodiversity are already patch herbfields and cushion the modelled Carabid species
being seen in a variety of habitats, plants7, a contraction of ferns and experience a population decline
communities and taxa. For bogs42, and feral mammals may by over 80%, suggesting that
example, researchers have noted move to higher elevations.25 In flightless ground beetles are the
changes in the timing of life-cycle wetland areas, there is predicted most vulnerable taxa to climate
events such as bird migration to be degradation and drying of change impacts in our wet tropics
and breeding3, and population peatlands and wetlands and the World Heritage rainforests.34
declines as a result of heat stress loss of seasonal and ephemeral
The observed and predicted
and droughts in koalas, wetland ponds.46 Rainforest habitats
impacts of climate change
birds and platypus have been are expected to see changes
on terrestrial systems were
detected.16,17,31 Some species have to the structure of the rainforest
summarised in the Phase 1
already shifted their geographical canopy35, damage to some
Report Card.24
ranges3, and there is evidence species due to high intensity
of climate space having shifted cyclones10 and increased growth 2.2 Protected areas are not
in previous decades for many of vines associated with increasing enough – we need
birds37 and fish13. Mass die-off CO2, leading to tree mortality.11 a climate-ready
events have been recorded in A number of other studies have conservation approach
flying foxes and the endangered projected the biological impacts In the past, Australia has taken a
Carnaby’s cockatoo during days of climate change with negative static approach to conservation,
of extreme heat.30,41 In reptiles, a results: Reside and colleagues29 preserving key species and
change in the offspring sex ratio applied a vulnerability assessment areas of biodiversity through the
has been related to increasing framework to 243 bird species protected areas system. Dunlop
temperatures.39 At the ecosystem inhabiting northern Australia and colleagues6 maintain that
level, woody-thickening is and found that climate change this approach is not sufficient
threatening a variety of grassland will have substantial impacts on to preserve biodiversity under
habitats across Australia22, while tropical savanna birds, with Cape climate change – successful
drought and reduced rainfall York species being particularly adaptation measures need
have resulted in increased tree vulnerable.26,29 Dramatic changes to take a dynamic approach.
mortality and shifts in species to species assemblage and Essentially, we can no longer
composition in some woodlands.8 species richness are predicted for focus on maintaining biodiversity
In alpine regions, there has been Australian rainforest vertebrates, as it was pre-European
a significant decline in depth with particular impacts to be settlement but need to recognise
and duration of snow cover, and felt among endemic, regionally and accept that communities
there have been tree-line shifts of endemic and restricted species and species will change and
30–40 m in altitude during a 25- that will need to move up-slope to shift as the climate changes and
year period.12,40 track suitable habitat and respond plan accordingly.6 We also need
to increased lowland biotic to first identify the sources of
pressures.1,43 Flightless ground uncertainty and then make plans
insects are also identified as that are flexible enough to deal
vulnerable taxa. The distribution with this uncertainty.
models by Staunton and There is evidence that the
colleagues34 for ground beetles current reserve and protected
(Carabidae) within the wet tropics areas system is not sufficiently
of Australia suggest reductions climate-ready. Lukasiewicz and
6 in range size, population size colleagues19 state that the current
fragmentation of protected areas to benefit the greatest number of 3. Strategies seek to conserve the
in Australia poses a problem species and communities. They multiple different dimensions of
for migration, especially for found that current landscape biodiversity that are experienced
species with poor mobility or design approaches fall short and valued by society. The
those that face human-made in protecting species from way society experiences and
barriers to dispersal. future population declines. At values biodiversity differs
very large spatial scales, they among individuals, sectors
Maggini and colleagues21 and
showed that the best option is to and locations. Narrow ideas
Reside and colleagues27 modelled
restore habitats to at least 30% of what we value in natural
specific locations likely to provide
native vegetation cover. Other systems will be difficult to
refugia – the habitat that species
studies have demonstrated that achieve under climate change.
can retreat to under climate
ecosystem resilience can also In particular, threatened species
change. These studies found that
be improved by increasing and ecological communities are
the current reserve system and
landscape diversity and by likely to become less effective as
protected areas are not sufficient
protecting ecosystem services tools. New approaches will need
to allow species to move into
such as pollination.18 to look to protect a wider range
identified refugia areas, and for
of values.
some vertebrate species there Approaches to managing natural
appear to be no natural refugial landscapes will need to be A range of tools and decision
areas for them to move to. Habitat ‘recalibrated’ to accommodate frameworks have been developed
connectivity will be a necessary significant changes in the future. that can help land managers and
component of providing Dunlop and colleagues6 provide policymakers incorporate climate
climate refugia if species change three adaptation propositions change into natural resource
their migration patterns due to as the basis of a climate- management (NRM) plans (Box
climatic changes.19 ready framing for conservation 1). These approaches focus on a
management: number of key principles that will
The results of modelling the spatial
make up new approaches
distribution of climate change 1. Conservation strategies
to land management under
refugia areas27 in Queensland accommodate large amounts
climate change:
have since been adopted by of ecological change and
the Queensland Government in the likelihood of significant 1. Identifying and prioritising
the Nature Refuges Program. climate change–induced loss refugia. The effect of climate
This relatively new initiative is an in biodiversity. For example, change will be felt differently
excellent example of research strategies might manage in different places in the
rapidly informing policy and inevitable changes in the landscape. Refugia are those
management to produce positive landscape to ensure more places regionally where we
outcomes in on-the-ground preferable outcomes than expect many species can avoid
environmental management.38 undesirable ones. the worst impacts of climate
change. Identifying refugia can
2.3 New approaches 2. Strategies remain relevant
help minimise biodiversity loss.
for the way forward and feasible under a range
Criteria that help identify what
An ecosystem-based approach of possible future trajectories
makes a suitable refuge and
has been identified as the best of ecological change. The
case studies of assessments
approach to build resilience and uncertainties of predicting future
are available in Reside and
adaptation to climate change responses mean strategies
colleagues.27,28
in terrestrial systems. Doerr should be effective under a
and colleagues5 explored how wide range of different types or
landscapes can be best designed scenarios of ecological change.
to promote ecosystem-based
adaptation and resilience in order 7
2. Designing and managing 4. Identifying the costs and 6. Assessing potential of invasive
landscapes to increase benefits of adaptation species to spread. In the same
ecosystem resilience. As actions. This approach is as way that the vulnerability of
discussed above, looking applicable to natural systems species must be evaluated,
more broadly at ecosystems as it is to infrastructure and assessment of the potential
and the whole landscape will other adaptation responses. for invasive species to spread
build greater resilience and Adaptation actions can require (or retract) is needed, and
help ecosystems deal with significant initial investment (e.g. this can be done through
shocks and changes. Doerr and the Queensland Government is species modelling and tools.
colleagues5 outline five principles investing $5 million in purchasing For example, Weed Futures14
for the landscape approach land of high climate change provides a method to assess the
that can be easily adopted. refuge status).33 A business case future of invasive species.
They include acting locally but can be built that shows longer
7. The potential of fire and fire-
thinking regionally, considering term savings from actions such
weather to impact biodiversity.
alien species when undertaking as translocation of species,
Restoration of vegetation,
restoration work, investing weed control, rebuilding or
including the development
much more in restoration (but re-engineering ecosystem
of vegetation corridors, while
acknowledging there will services. Some tools to help
facilitating greater mobility
be losers) and considering undertake these analyses are
for species, can also create
all land types in regional available in CATLoG and the
new bushfire risks that may
spatial planning. Systems Thinking Tools for
be exacerbated by worsening
Climate Change Adaptation36
3. Incorporating climate-ready fire-weather. Ongoing fire
(see Box 1). CATLoG can also
conservation planning. As management and assessment
assist in analyses of costs due
discussed above, the approach will need to be considered
to changes in climatic extremes
advocated by Dunlop and in planning restoration and
– a threat that will drive more
colleagues6 is a climate- tree planting.
significant responses from
ready approach. It is about
biological systems than gradual 8. Considering co-benefits.
recalibrating what we think of as
increases in climatic averages. Within land planning, there
conservation planning to include
may be opportunities to derive
managing change to get the 5. Assessing species vulnerability.
biodiversity or conservation
best outcome, keeping options While assessing species
benefits through other land
open and considering new vulnerability is not new, it
uses. For example, funding and
values in conservation – ones will require an additional
policies of carbon sequestration,
that reflect a broad section of understanding of how climate
if carefully planned, can provide
the community. change may impact on a
additional species habitat,
species. Techniques include
movement corridors and
species distribution modelling,
sustainable land management
understanding behaviour and
(e.g. through soil carbon
physiology of species and
sequestration if management
knowledge of habitat suitability
practices are changed).
across the landscape. A number
of tools and examples of species
vulnerability assessments are
available (e.g. Box 1; 9,44).

8
Box 1 A number of examples of decision frameworks and tools that have been developed to help land
managers and policymakers incorporate climate change into natural resource management plans.

CATLoG – Climate Adaptation Landscapes Future Making decisions to


Decision Support Tool for Analysis Tool23 conserve species under
Local Governments36 climate change32
Agency: NCCARF Date: 2013
Agency: NCCARF Date: 2013 Authors: Shoo and colleagues
Link: http://www.lfat.org.au/lfat/
Date: 2013
Link: https://www.nccarf.edu.au/
Description: Web-based
publications/climate-adaptation- Link: http://link.springer.com/
visualisation and decision support
decision-support-tool-local- article/10.1007/s10584-013-0699-2
tool designed to help natural
governments
resource managers. The software Description: A simple decision
Description: Designed for local supports spatial planning for framework (Figure 4) to assist
governments to compare and remnant vegetation management managers and policymakers to
prioritise investment in climate and the establishment of prioritise decisions around climate
change adaptation. Using an Excel corridors, considering the benefits change adaptation.
based tool, the framework steps for biodiversity and economic The framework gives decision-
users through first an economic trade-offs. It is currently developed makers actions to consider under
analysis and then a multi-criteria for SA Murray Darling Basin and different scenarios.
analysis. In this second step Eyre Peninsula, but the tool can
CliMAS
the analysis can incorporate be adapted to other regions if
economic, environmental, social the required information is input. Agency: James Cook University
and co-benefit values. Some of the approaches (e.g. Date: 2013
engaging with stakeholders) can Link: http://climas.hpc.jcu.edu.au/
Weed Futures14
be used without climate change. Description: This online tool
Agency: Macquarie University,
Systems Thinking Tools for allows users to produce maps and
NCCARF Date: 2013
Climate Change Adaptation20 reports of species distributions
Link: http://weedfutures.net/
for the present and climate
Agency: NCCARF Date: 2013
Description: An online projections each decade up to
decision support tool that allows Link: https://www.nccarf.edu. 2085 and for two greenhouse
users to interrogate individual au/sites/default/files/attached_ gas scenarios. Users can
profiles for 500 non-native files_publications/Maani_2013_ compare maps to see changes
invasive or naturalised plant Decision-making_for_climate_ in distribution. This tool is useful
species to determine their weed change_adaptation.pdf to help stakeholders visualise
threat for a specific region now projected changes.
Description: A guide to the
and in the future.
selection of adaptation tools
that take a systems thinking and
adaptive management approach,
that is, decision-making that is
iterative and considers the system
as a whole (e.g. the landscape).
The tool selection guide has the
tools in the following groups:
Problem framing and scoping
tools, Qualitative/conceptual tools,
Quantitative/probabilistic tools,
Scenario thinking/planning tools 9
and Organisational learning.
Decisions Actions

Re-evaluate

Monitor and
reappraise, continue
Is there a high risk that environmental No

Decreasing certainty of success

Decreasing co-benefit of action for non-target species


to improve
suitability will decline under climate
conventional
change?
conservation
approaches
Yes

Are there adequate Yes Secure/restore


M1
internal refugia? internal refugia
No
Yes Secure/restore
Are there adequate M2
external refugia? external refugia

No
No
Can species move quickly enough? M3

Yes

Are movement pathways adequate or can Yes Secure /restore


M4
they be restored? movement paths

No

Enough population genetic variation for Yes


evolutionary response? E1

No
Re-evaluate
Yes Develop genetic
Geographic genetic variation? E2 assisted
colonization plan
No
Yes Develop assisted
Assisted colonization possible? M5
colonization plan
No
increasing cost

Re-evaluate
Extinction in the wild likely (EW)

Yes
Develop ex situ
Ex situ conservation possible? Ex1
conservation plan
No

Extinction likely

Figure 4 A decision framework for management actions focused on reducing


10 the impacts of climate change.32
3. Evidence-based policy implications
ADAPTATION CHALLENGE 1: different spatial scales more Climate change means new
Identify key adaptation effectively. The fundamental challenges in new places and
pathways and principles for purpose of reserves or across scales beyond existing
managing ecosystems protected areas may need to jurisdictions – including on
Existing approaches be reconsidered to ensure private land. New management
to managing terrestrial management options will be approaches must navigate
ecosystems come from a more compatible with inevitable and negotiate with various land
history of significant investment changes. This is likely to managers. Clarification of new
in a particular conservation focus on a broader concept roles and responsibilities
philosophy: managing in of land management for may be needed to help
place, using pre-European multiple purposes and include improve the effectiveness of
settlement as a conservation identification of opportunities adaptation planning.
benchmark and focusing on for conservation as well as
Decisions that affect ecosystems
rare and threatened species impacts and threats. Long-term
can be the responsibility
(e.g. the Environment Protection planning timelines are likely to
of numerous individuals,
Biodiversity Conservation Act be more successful if they are
organisations and levels of
1999, reserve systems). Climate accompanied by the appropriate
government – from private
change has altered the current policy framework, financial
landholders (including Indigenous
view of how to prioritise values mechanisms and resourcing.
land owners), local government,
of conservation, and it is clear It is also clear that the approach state and federal government,
that more nimble and flexible to planning for ecosystems will to different branches of
approaches will be needed. need to be more proactive than government, including
New research and modelling has reactive. There is a need for more those responsible for roads,
identified that most species and lead time and research to make conservation reserves, protected
ecosystems will need to migrate some important decisions, such areas and defence lands.
or change behaviour in order as the relocation of species and
to find a climate that they can the testing of the adequacy of
survive in. This means that many identified refugia.
existing conservation areas will ADAPTATION CHALLENGE 2:
not support current ecosystems
and species into the future. Policy,
Work across jurisdictions
planning and management must
and tenure and identify
allow for these changes. Future
roles and responsibilities
habitats that may provide suitable Climate change will mean
habitat or conditions (including many species and ecosystems
refugia) are likely to be identified can no longer survive in their
through modelling. current locations. Planning is
likely to be most effective when
Focus may need to shift to undertaken at a landscape
consider concepts of resilience, scale and where greater
ecosystem function, migration and flexibility in management
refugia rather than conservation is encouraged. Working
and preservation of existing at the landscape scale will
ecosystems and species. Planning require greater cooperation
will need to consider longer time and collaboration across
frames as well as addressing jurisdictions and tenures.
current changes and impacts.
It will also need to address
11
This scale of management and move away from extension new social values are likely to need
planning is likely to best suit a work. Close and trusted to be identified, negotiated and
landscape approach. This will relationships can mean agreed to.
require assembling information communities and individuals
New principles of ecosystem
about where species might look to local governments and
management may include values
migrate or retreat to and their industry bodies for guidance.
such as preservation of individual
chances of surviving in-situ; These organisations will benefit
species, maintenance of specific
and identifying potential refugia from understanding higher level
ecosystems (including flow-on
and corridors or connections (landscape) planning to make
effects and intersections, such
between ecosystems. By working appropriate local decisions and
as clean water, flood mitigation),
at the landscape scale, it may provide appropriate advice.
facilitating species movement
be possible to engage with
Tensions between public and or acceptance of new species
wider audiences that consider
private interests and between composition of existing reserves.
themselves to be land managers
conflicting policies (e.g.
but do not necessarily consider New management actions
development versus conservation)
themselves to be responsible for required for species conservation
are likely to persist. However, there
biodiversity. Current examples of and their viability in the face of
are potential opportunities to build
decisions that have been made climate change can be supported
partnerships that can assess
using these approaches include by good science (e.g. species
appropriate trade-offs
those by Australia’s network of modelling), but the selection of
and co-benefits. For example,
NRM groups. They are already management principles needs to
a new development could be
building adaptation plans at a have support from stakeholders.
strategically located to allow for
landscape scale that lessons can Personal interests and values,
a future habitat refuge based on
be learned from and built upon. industry values and competing
species modelling.
values will all influence social
In a practical sense, this requires
ADAPTATION CHALLENGE 3: ideals, for example, whether to
aligning policies and regulations
prioritise development or bushfire
across jurisdictions and tenure. In Define social, economic
safety over conservation. It is
order to do this, there is likely to be and ideological values to
important that any shifts to a new
the need for a broader focus on drive land management and
set of ecosystem management
a range of issues (e.g. sediment policy arrangements
principles are accompanied by
planning, water sensitive urban Climate change will mean
education and guidance. Simple
design, water quality issues) at prioritising new environmental
and digestible messages will be
a landscape scale. Each vested and social values, and this will
needed to help community and
interest will have its own set change what we are managing
other stakeholders understand the
of values or priorities for land for, for example, individual
rationale for any new values; this
management. For example, one of species, ecosystem function or
is why engagement on decision-
Australia’s largest land managers, ecosystem resilience.
making is important.
the Australia Defence Force,
While much of the research and
has a clear legislative obligation
policy to support ecosystem
as to how they should manage
management has focused on
their land.
the natural environment, in reality
Groups such as NRM groups social and economic values drive
and Catchment Management management and policies. Climate
Authorities act as knowledge change will challenge existing
brokers and provide advice, but a social values (e.g. the desire to
gap in access to information may preserve pre-European species
emerge as state governments diversity and ecosystems), and
12
ADAPTATION CHALLENGE 4: Where change is likely to be New challenges of climate
Use new tools substantial, planning approaches change might create conflicting
to make decisions will need to consider adopting management issues. For
New decision support tools transformative solutions that are example, development of species
and decision frameworks a major change in direction away movement corridors could
are becoming available to from traditional approaches or potentially create a new fire
help incorporate the new outcomes. Decisions are also likely threat. Existing pressures may be
principles and values of land to need to consider a number of worsened by climate change (e.g.
management that are emerging values, including social values and water stress, heat stress, dieback).
under climate change into economic values. Where existing resources do
decision-making. not adequately address current
Ongoing monitoring of species
pressures, adaptation will need to
Climate change means that there survival and prospects, ecosystem
work with inherited problems and
will be ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in health and adequacy and success
new pressures associated with a
the natural environment. Some of management approaches will
changing climate.
species and ecosystems have a be important to feed back into
greater capacity to adapt and are decision-making for ongoing Competition for adaptation
likely to be more successful, while adjustment and response. resources will also mean
others might perish. For decision- competing against large
ADAPTATION CHALLENGE 5:
makers, the challenge is to identify and powerful sectors (e.g.
and prioritise strategies that
Collaborate to manage infrastructure), and it is likely that
have high likelihood of ongoing
new challenges, conflicting landscape management will need
success. This may mean not
goals and inherited to work with these competing
investing in species with a very
problems interests to incorporate an
low chance of persistence and Land managers may be faced ecosystem-based approach into
building strategies to deal with not only with new challenges, new sectors (see Section 2.3).
the uncertainty associated with but interaction and escalation
managing for the future. of existing problems and
conflicting management goal.
Decision support frameworks For example, will movement
are beginning to emerge for corridors create new fire
planning and managing terrestrial risks? These new challenges
ecosystems for climate change highlight the need for
(e.g. Figure 4). While they cannot collaborative approaches with
produce a single answer, they a range of experts.
can help narrow the available
options by identifying benefits, Climate change will bring new
costs, trade-offs and feasibility of challenges for land managers,
a given course of action. Adaptive for example new fire threats
management approaches will in previously wet vegetation
become more important than ever, types (e.g. sphagnum bogs,
and decisions are likely rainforest) or new invasive species.
to be shaped with options to These new challenges must be
test and adjust management as addressed in systems that are
responses and outcomes are already under stress from existing
better understood. pressures, and management
approaches need to account for
thresholds of multiple pressures.

13
4. Key information and references
NCCARF-supported research is marked with an asterisk*
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importance of dispersal in and production of a tropical change adaptation in catchment
mediating biotic attrition under upland rainforest: implications management whilst avoiding
climate change. Global Change for the life history trade-offs. unintended consequences
Biology 18, 2126–2134. Ecosystems 11, 1277-1290. (National Climate Change
Adaptation Research Facility,
2. Bureau of Meteorology and 11. Granados J. and Korner C. (2002) Gold Coast).*
CSIRO (2014) State of the In deep shade, elevated CO2
climate 2014 (Commonwealth of increase the vigour of tropical 20. Maani K. (2013) Decision-making
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3. Chambers L.E. et al. (2005) Biology 8, 1109-1117. a systems thinking approach
Climate change and its impact (National Climate Change
12. Green K. and Pickering Adaptation Research Facility,
on Australia’s avifauna. Emu 105, C.M. (2009) The decline of
1-20. Gold Coast).*
snowpatches in the snowy
4. CSIRO and Bureau of mountains of Australia: 21. Maggini R. et al. (2013) Protecting
Meteorology (2015) Climate Importance of climate warming, and restoring habitat to help
change in Australia: Information variable snow, and wind. Arctic, Australia’s threatened species
for Australia’s natural resource Antarctic and Alpine Research adapt to climate change (National
management regions: Technical 41(2), 212-218. Climate Change Adaptation
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habitat suitability modelling 22. Mcinnis-Ng C. and Eamus D.
5. Doerr V.A.J. et al. (2013) reveals rapid poleward (2009) The increasing density
Designing landscapes for distribution shift in a mobile apex of shrubs and trees across a
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Research Facility, Gold Coast).* 14. Hughes L. et al. (2013) Prioritising 23. Meyer W. et al. (2013) Adapted
naturalised plant species for future landscapes – from
6. Dunlop M. et al. (2013) Climate- threat assessment: Developing aspiration to implementation
ready conservation objectives: a a decision tool for managers (National Climate Change
scoping study (National Climate (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility,
Change Adaptation Research Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast).*
Facility, Gold Coast).* Gold Coast).*
24. NCCARF (2013) Terrestrial
7. Edmonds T. et al. (2006) Annual 15. Kanowski J. (2001) Effects climate change report card
variation in the distribution of elevated CO2 on the foliar 2013 (National Climate Change
of summer snowdrifts in the chemistry of seedlings of two Adaptation Research Facility,
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15
National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility
Telephone +61 7 5552 9333
Email nccarf@griffith.edu.au

www.nccarf.edu.au

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