Tipping points and the vulnerability of Australia's tropical ecosystems

Laurance, William F. (2013) Tipping points and the vulnerability of Australia's tropical ecosystems. In: Sodhi, Navjot S., Gibson, Luke, and Raven, Peter H., (eds.) Conservation Biology: voices from the tropics. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex, UK, pp. 169-180.

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Abstract

I identify the major tropical ecosystems in Australia that are most vulnerable to tipping points, in which modest environmental changes can cause disproportionately large changes in ecosystem properties. To accomplish this, I surveyed 24 researchers in Australia to produce a list of candidate ecosystems, which was then refined during a workshop in late 2010. The list includes (1) montane rainforests; (2) tropical savannas; (3) tropical floodplains and wetlands; (4) coral reefs; (5) drier rainforests; (6) tropical islands; and (7) salt marshes and mangroves. Some of these ecosystems are vulnerable to widespread phase-changes that could fundamentally alter ecosystem properties such as habitat structure, species composition, fire regimes, or carbon storage. Others appear susceptible to major changes across only part of their geographic range, whereas yet others are susceptible to a large-scale decline of key biotic components, such as small mammals or stream-dwelling amphibians. For each ecosystem I consider the intrinsic features and external drivers that render it susceptible to tipping points, and identify subtypes of the ecosystem that appear especially vulnerable.

Item ID: 30342
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-470-65863-5
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2014 04:18
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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