From: colin trainor
Pdf available of full report:
This research identifies Australian water birds likely to face strong
challenges or extinction from climate change and recommends key actions to
secure and manage vulnerable regions for the future.
In the first continental analysis of the effects of climate change on a
faunal group, we identified that the climate space of 101 Australian
terrestrial and inland water bird taxa is likely to be entirely gone by
2085, 16 marine taxa have breeding sites that are predicted to be at least
10% less productive than today, and 55 terrestrial taxa are likely to be
exposed to more frequent or intense fires.
Birds confined to Cape York Peninsula, the Wet Tropics, the Top End of the
Northern Territory (particularly the Tiwi Islands), the arid zone, King
Island and southern South Australia (particularly Kangaroo
Island) are most likely to lose climate space. There was some variation in
the predictions of the 18 climate models deployed, but all predicted that
the rainforest avifauna of Cape York Peninsula is likely to face the
strongest challenge from climate change, particularly taxa currently
confined to the Iron and McIlwraith Ranges. For marine birds, those nesting
on Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and the Houtman
Abrolhos are likely to face the greatest declines in local marine
productivity. Changes in local marine productivity may also affect the
endemic terrestrial birds of these islands, for which no climate modelling
was possible. A small group of beach-nesting and saltmarsh birds may be
affected by sea level rise.
Many taxa, and particularly seabirds, are potentially highly sensitive to
climate change based on a set of ecological and morphological metrics. Small
island taxa were most likely to be both exposed and sensitive to climate
change, followed by marine and shoreline taxa. While threatened birds were
more likely than non-threatened taxa to be exposed or sensitive to climate
change, or both, a substantial proportion was neither.
A key action that needs to be undertaken immediately is fine scale modelling
of regions identified as having numerous highly exposed bird taxa, in order
to identify climatic refugia within the landscape. Such refugia can then be
secured and managed appropriately for the future.
The most urgent ongoing action is monitoring, with support for the Atlas of
Australian Birds seen as a particularly cost-effective investment.
In the future, the most expensive actions will be management of refugia, and
captive breeding should all other approaches to conservation in the wild
fail. However, most of those for which captive breeding is recommended as a
last resort are subspecies of species that are widespread, either in
Australia or in New Guinea.
For in situ management, the most important actions will be those that are
already important - fire management, weed and feral animal control and, for
marine taxa, controls on fishing. A small number of species-specific actions
are suggested, and there appears to be no urgent requirement for corridors