A recently published report has identified that Australian water birds are likely to face strong challenges or extinction from climate change. The report recommends key actions to secure and manage vulnerable regions for the future.
Authors include Stephen Garnett, Donald Franklin, Glenn Ehmke, Jeremy VanDerWal, Lauren Hodgson, Chris Pavey, April Reside, Justin Welbergen, Stuart Butchart, Genevieve Perkins and Stephen Williams.
Excerpt from the Abstract:
In the first continental analysis of the effects of climate change on a faunal group, we identified that the climate space of 101 Australian terrestrial and inland water bird taxa is likely to be entirely gone by 2085, 16 marine taxa have breeding sites that are predicted to be at least 10% less productive than today, and 55 terrestrial taxa are likely to be exposed to more frequent or intense fires.
Birds confined to Cape York Peninsula, the Wet Tropics, the Top End of the Northern Territory (particularly the Tiwi Islands), the arid zone, King Island and southern South Australia (particularly Kangaroo Island) are most likely to lose climate space. There was some variation in the predictions of the 18 climate models deployed, but all predicted that the rainforest avifauna of Cape York Peninsula is likely to face the strongest challenge from climate change, particularly taxa currently confined to the Iron and McIlwraith Ranges. For marine birds, those nesting on Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and the Houtman Abrolhos are likely to face the greatest declines in local marine productivity. Changes in local marine productivity may also affect the endemic terrestrial birds of these islands, for which no climate modelling was possible. A small group of beach-nesting and saltmarsh birds may be affected by sea level rise.
Many taxa, and particularly seabirds, are potentially highly sensitive to climate change based on a set of ecological and morphological metrics. Small island taxa were most likely to be both exposed and sensitive to climate change, followed by marine and shoreline taxa. While threatened birds were more likely than non-threatened taxa to be exposed or sensitive to climate change, or both, a substantial proportion was neither.
Garnett, S, Franklin, D, Ehmke, G, VanDerWal, J, Hodgson, L, Pavey, C, Reside, A, Welbergen, J, Butchart, S, Perkins, G, Williams, S 2013 Climate change adaptation strategies for Australian birds, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast. pp.109.