Climate change adaptation strategies for Australian birds

Authors: Stephen Garnett, Donald Franklin, Glenn Ehmke, Jeremy VanDerWal, Lauren Hodgson, Chris Pavey, April Reside, Justin Welbergen, Stuart Butchart, Genevieve Perkins and Stephen Williams
Year: 2013

This report contains comprehensive findings on Australian water birds that are likely to face strong challenges or extinction from climate change and recommends key actions to secure and manage vulnerable regions for the future. The climate space of 101 Australian terrestrial and inland water bird taxa are predicted to be entirely gone by 2085, with 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) being the most vulnerable. Sixteen 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. The cost of management over the next 50 years for persistence in the face of climate change of the 396 bird taxa that are very highly exposed, sensitive or both is estimated at $18.8 million per year $47,700 per year for each taxon. The biggest ongoing costs are monitoring and direct species management but refugia management and captive breeding may eventually be needed, and will be much more expensive. Those few taxa not already living in areas where there are likely to be refugia will require assistance to colonise new climate space. For in situ management, the most important actions will be those that are already important fire management, weed and feral animal control and, for marine taxa, controls on fishing.

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