In review. Underpins Section 3.7 in the Australian National Outlook 2015 report.

Outlooks for adaptive conservation of Australian biodiversity under global change

Journal paper, in review

Biodiversity conservation is often achieved by investing in habitat protection and restoration in order to offset the negative effects of anthropogenic land use. While such measures will have future benefit for biodiversity, climate change may diminish some of those benefits by reducing the availability of current abiotic environments. 

Here we apply a macroecological modelling approach to assessing the implications of change in both climate and land use on the cost-effectiveness of investment across the Australian continent at 1km resolution to 2050. Using scenario analysis in the Land Use Trade-Offs integrated assessment model (LUTO), we simulate future landscape configurations under plausible combinations of land-carbon market-driven, and biodiversity policy-driven, investment levels for habitat restoration, accounting for competing land uses.

Under favourable policy settings with significant investment, extensive restoration through environmental carbon plantings is generated, supporting population persistence and dispersal. However, the projected disappearance of current abiotic environments outweighs what is achievable through a hypothetical complete restoration of all cleared land.

Targeted restoration nevertheless provides clear incremental benefits under all climate outlooks considered, suggesting that nationally-supported restoration will continue to be a sensible policy, but that global action to reduce greenhouse emissions and limit the extent of climate change remains central.

Authors

Tom D. Harwood, Simon Ferrier, Brett A. Bryan, Martin Nolan, Kristen J. Williams, Karel Mokany, Ian N. Harman, Steve Hatfield-Dodds

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