A Guide to Managing Biodiversity Impacts under Climate Change

Article excerpt

The release by the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council of an action plan to help natural resource managers deal with the impacts of climate change on biodiversity is significant. It confirms we have accepted that real and possibly dramatic effects for Australia's biodiversity from climate change lie ahead, and that coordinated action will be needed to assist agencies to mitigate these effects.

The Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2001b) (1) identified that natural resources and biodiversity conservation are likely to be strongly affected by climate change in Australia over the next 100 years, adding to the existing substantial pressures on these sectors.

The National Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan (2004-2007) explains how Australia could be affected by climate change and what we might do to help our species and ecosystems adapt to these impacts. This three-year plan is only a beginning. Programs will be reviewed in 2007 and a revised plan will be developed in light of new understanding and information.

The main intent of this initial plan is to:

* identify priority areas for research and monitoring, and improve understanding of potential climate change impacts on biodiversity to a point where specific strategies can be developed;

* use existing knowledge about the impacts of climate change and draw from ecological principles to review and amend current biodiversity conservation policies and strategies;

* improve communication about the impacts of climate change on biodiversity between researchers, resources managers and decision makers; and

* raise community awareness of the potentially significant and specific impacts of climate change on biodiversity. …