New and emerging issues affecting climate change adaptation on the environment, economic development and settlement patterns of the Mitchell River catchment

Beasley, Robert Gregory (2015) New and emerging issues affecting climate change adaptation on the environment, economic development and settlement patterns of the Mitchell River catchment. Masters (Research) thesis, James Cook University.

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Climate change is predicted to directly affect the physical environment of Tropical northern Australia. Physical impacts across the tropical region are modelled to present as more severe weather and physical events, with increasing variability within the cycle. Ecosystems are expected to adapt to events with variability in plant and animal introduction, distribution and fecundity. Soil characteristics will need to adapt to changes such as in salinity, structure, transpiration and fertility. The flora and fauna of the region will be threatened by climate change effects, while pest weeds and feral animals may exploit favourable niches in the affected environment. Impacts on the human population and economy will require sustainable adaptation, planning and implementation strategies. To understand the integrated nature of climate change impacts within the context of a whole community, a tropical remote river basin was selected as the focus of study.

The aims of this study were to:

1. Investigate actual and predicted effects on the environment, human population and economy of the Mitchell River catchment and determine whether they will sustainably adopt community-based climate change adaptation strategies or rely on externally imposed regulations.

2. Develop sustainable mitigation plans and strategies for the community, which are directed toward managing the existing and projected planning for climate change adaptation within the catchment.

The methodology employed the adoption of both physical (quantitative) and social scientific (qualitative) concepts to collect, analyse and synthesise results that indicate this environment and its marginal economy is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The population is at risk from the effects on physical and psychological health and safety issues. The economy of the catchment will be impacted through a predicted decline of productivity in the pastoral and agricultural industry, with an increase in input costs. However, the existing and proposed mitigation and adaptation strategies should assist the environment, community and economy to reduce its vulnerability to the effects of the emerging disaster and enable growth of resilience. The key to implementing these climate disasters mitigating strategies is centred on community development and preparedness, which is formed by the recognition and development of the existing human skill set. Education and training will develop the potential of community members to respond to disaster.

These findings and recommendations are submitted as one strategy in a whole-of-nation resilience-based approach to climate disaster management. This recognises that a national, coordinated and cooperative effort is needed to enhance the community's capacity to withstand and recover from climate-induced disasters. Connected, organised, and resilient communities are proven to be better able to adapt to a disaster and sustainable resilience is formed with those events that transpire during initial planning and operation stages of a disaster response.

A potential outcome from this study is that this Community Preparedness Model may inspire other communities to modify, adapt and adopt relevant concepts and/or strategies to improve their adaptive capacity, thereby raising their community and environmental prospects for survival and recovery in the event of enhanced disasters that may accompany climate change.

Item ID: 55995
Item Type: Thesis (Masters (Research))
Keywords: adaptation to climate change, climate change adaptation, climate change management, climate change, economic development, Mitchell River catchment, north Queensland
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2015 Robert Gregory Beasley
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2018 00:00
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 75%
14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960311 Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability @ 30%
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