Impacts of recent climate change on terrestrial flora and fauna: some emerging Australian examples

Hoffmann, Ary A., Rymer, Paul D., Byrne, Margaret, Ruthrof, Katinka X., Whinam, Jennie, McGeoch, Melodie, Bergstrom, Dana M., Guerin, Greg R., Sparrow, Ben, Joseph, Leo, Hill, Sarah J., Andrew, Nigel R., Camac, James, Bell, Nicholas, Riegler, Markus, Gardner, Janet L., and Williams, Stephen E. (2019) Impacts of recent climate change on terrestrial flora and fauna: some emerging Australian examples. Austral Ecology, 44 (1). pp. 3-27.

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Abstract

The effects of anthropogenic climate change on biodiversity are well known for some high-profile Australian marine systems, including coral bleaching and kelp forest devastation. Less well-published are the impacts of climate change being observed in terrestrial ecosystems, although ecological models have predicted substantial changes are likely. Detecting and attributing terrestrial changes to anthropogenic factors is difficult due to the ecological importance of extreme conditions, the noisy nature of short-term data collected with limited resources, and complexities introduced by biotic interactions. Here, we provide a suite of case studies that have considered possible impacts of anthropogenic climate change on Australian terrestrial systems. Our intention is to provide a diverse collection of stories illustrating how Australian flora and fauna are likely responding to direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic climate change. We aim to raise awareness rather than be comprehensive. We include case studies covering canopy dieback in forests, compositional shifts in vegetation, positive feedbacks between climate, vegetation and disturbance regimes, local extinctions in plants, size changes in birds, phenological shifts in reproduction and shifting biotic interactions that threaten communities and endangered species. Some of these changes are direct and clear cut, others are indirect and less clearly connected to climate change; however, all are important in providing insights into the future state of terrestrial ecosystems. We also highlight some of the management issues relevant to conserving terrestrial communities and ecosystems in the face of anthropogenic climate change.

Item ID: 59322
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-9993
Keywords: biodiversity, biotic interactions, climate change, terrestrial
Copyright Information: © 2018 Ecological Society of Australia.
Additional Information:

This article is available Open Access via the publisher's website.

Funders: Australian Antarctic Science Program (AASP), Australian Research Council (ARC), National Environmental Research Program, Earthwatch Institute, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, ARC Linkage Projects (ARC LP), The Centre for Climate Change, Woodland and Forest Health
Projects and Grants: AASP AAS 3095, 4192, 4312, ARC LP LP0455349, ARC LP LP150100936
Date Deposited: 05 May 2020 19:13
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 100%
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