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Climate change impacts on biodiversity

Climate change is predicted to be the greatest long-term threat to biodiversity in many regions and is listed as a key threatening process under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth).

Projections of future changes in climate in NSW include increasing temperatures and temperature extremes, increasingly severe droughts, rising sea levels, possible decreasing rainfall, regional flooding and reduced water availability in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Australia has experienced cycles of climate change in the past, but the current changes are more serious due to the rate of change in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels and temperatures, and because ecosystems are already stressed by other human impacts.

The most vulnerable ecosystems include coastal ecosystems, alpine areas, rainforests, fragmented terrestrial ecosystems and areas vulnerable to fire or low freshwater availability.

Species that could become endangered or extinct include those living near the upper limit of their temperature range (for example, in alpine regions); those with restricted climatic niches;and those that cannot migrate to new habitats due to habitat fragmentation or lack of alternatives.

NSW Biodiversity and Climate Change Adaptation Framework

The NSW Government has developed this Framework, which sets out how NSW public sector agencies are tackling climate change until 2009 through raising awareness, conducting research and monitoring, and implementing actions to help protect biodiversity, including threatened plants and animals.

The framework consists of six broad areas for action, to reduce the severity of climate change impacts.

Read  the NSW Biodiversity and Climate Change Adaptation Framework (0762biodivccadapt.pdf, 1240 KB, requires Acrobat Reader)

DECC Adaptation Strategy for Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity

The Adaptation Strategy outlines priority focus areas and actions that will form the basis of DECC's initial adapatation planning until 2009.  Priority focus areas are building and managing the reserve system; conservation planning to link public and privately-owned land; managing wildlife; using climate change adaptation science, research and modelling; managing natural resources; environmental planning; and commmunication, awareness raising and capacity building.

Priority actions include identifying needs and information gaps; undertaking critical research, monitoring and modelling; and developing adaptation options to increase the resilience of vulnerable areas.

Read the NSW Adaptation Strategy for Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity (0765adaptstrat.pdf, 1012 KB, requires Acrobat Reader)



Page last updated: 05 March 2008