Helping Biodiversity Adapt: Supporting climate adaptation planning using a community‐level modelling approach

Suzanne Prober (2), Kristen J Williams (1), Thomas D Harwood (3), Veronica AJ Doerr (4), Talia Jeanneret (5), Glenn Manion (6) and Simon Ferrier (7)

1 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), PO Box 1600, ACT 2601, Australia

2 CSIRO, Private Bag 5, PO Wembley WA Australia 6913, Australia

3 CSIRO, PO Box 1600, ACT 2601, Australia

4 CSIRO, PO Box 1600, ACT 2601, Australia

5 CSIRO, PO Box 883, Kenmore, Qld 4069, Australia

6 New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, University of New England 2351, Australia

7 CSIRO, PO Box 1600, ACT 2601, Australia

 

Evidence over the last decade has shown that ecological change in response to climate change is likely to be unavoidable, widespread and substantial. Our ability to manage biodiversity through these changes depends on understanding what the nature of the change might be and where the potential for future persistence of biodiversity may be greatest. To support development of this understanding and its use in natural resource management, we introduce a new way to view the magnitude, extent and type of changes in biodiversity using ecological similarity; a community‐level measure applicable to climate change. Landholders are facing the challenge of transitioning from managing what is known to managing what might be. If we are to steer change toward more rather than less desirable futures for Australia’s biodiversity, some of our approaches to biodiversity conservation may need to change. Here we combine pragmatic new ideas for triggering interventions with spatial mapping of biodiversity change to inform exploration of adaptation options. These new ideas include: Optimise ecological processes; Maintain the evolutionary character of the biota; Maintain the unique regional character in our biodiversity; Minimize species loss nationally, and Promote cross‐sectoral adaptation planning. We demonstrate; using simple compositional change measures and more targeted, derived measures such as potential vegetation redistribution; how some of these new ideas can be applied in planning. These and other measures and their potential uses are fully described in two Guides available from  www.AdaptNRM.org. AdaptNRM is a user‐driven approach for delivering science and information supporting natural resource management decisions.

Species on the Move

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The next conference is likely to be in 2019 at Kruger National Park in South Africa.

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