Planting natives

To: Sonja Ross <>, "" <>
Subject: Planting natives
From: Greg and Val Clancy <>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2016 02:49:47 +0000
Hi Sonja,

You raise an interesting point and it is one that I have heard expressed
before.  In fact it has been used as an excuse for planting north Queensland
species in northern New South Wales, a practice that is only adding to the
pressures on local ecosystems.  No-one knows what species will decline or
expand as a result of climate change.  What is clear is that species that
have very narrow ranges of climatic adaptability, such as Mountain Burramys
(Pygmy Possums) are likely to be threatened as there are no colder places
for them to migrate to if their current habitat becomes too hot.   Many
species exist over areas with a broad range of temperatures and will be less
affected.  If there is migration by plants and animals from the northern
hotter areas to southern areas, that is already happening with the Eastern
Koel, White-headed Pigeon, Beach Stone-curlew and probably the Eastern
Osprey, the best thing that we can do is to try and manage local ecosystems
in their current natural state, and this can include gardens.  This
increases the resilience of these ecosystems and makes them more likely to
adapt to the changes brought on by climate change.

It is a human foible to think that we can do things better than nature and
that we have to dominate nature but the natural world has been around for an
incredibly long time without human interference.  When humans interfere the
outcome is usually not positive for the environment.  It is arrogant to
think that we can predict what native species will do in response to changes
brought on by climate change.  We need to protect and restore our local
ecosystems rather than try to second guess what might happen and to plant
non-local natives in anticipation of changes that may not occur.  There may
be a few specialist species for which we have some scientific knowledge
about the likely effects but even the Mountain Burramys has survived for
millions of years without our assistance.  It was only known as a fossil
until its discovery in the 20th century.

Another factor is that not all areas of Australia will be affected in the
same way.  For instance the north coast of New South Wales, where I live, is
predicted to be wetter not drier.


Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
| PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
| 02 6649 3153  | 0429 601 960

-----Original Message-----
From: Sonja Ross
Sent: Thursday, February 4, 2016 8:50 AM
Subject: Planting natives

I've wondered about planting natives and climate change.

Local native  species mightn't be such a good idea perhaps as they may
suffer from hotter summers and drier years meaning that they aren't so
suited to an area any more, and the bird populations may be changing as a
result of the subtle/not so subtle changes in climate.  For example Eastern
Koels now seem to visit Melbourne every year, and possibly in increasing

What do members think?

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