Presentation on theme: "Matt McGlone Landcare Research Lincoln Conservation & Natural Systems Climate Change Adaptation Conference Wellington 20 May 2009."— Presentation transcript:
Matt McGlone Landcare Research Lincoln Conservation & Natural Systems Climate Change Adaptation Conference Wellington 20 May 2009
With mid-range climate warming (+1.8-2.0 o C) : 1 million species at risk greatest threat in “many if not most regions” Thomas et al. 2004. Nature 427: 145-148.
“Global warming could wipe out a quarter of all species of animals and plants by 2050” – Reuters, Jan 2004. 15 – 37 % of the groups & species modelled (1,103) may eventually be driven to extinction, if projected global warming scenarios eventuate.
What are the issues for biodiversity? CO 2 CO 2 Temperature Temperature Rainfall Rainfall Cloudiness Cloudiness Sea level rise Sea level rise
Individual species effects CO 2 plants grow more, use less water CO 2 plants grow more, use less water Warmer growing seasons phenology, abundance & range change Warmer growing seasons phenology, abundance & range change Less frosty or frost-free winters ditto Less frosty or frost-free winters ditto Wetter – little effect; drier – big effects Wetter – little effect; drier – big effects
Community effects Wholesale shifts in constituent species Wholesale shifts in constituent species Alpine tree line change Alpine tree line change Sea level rise: estuaries, sand-dunes Sea level rise: estuaries, sand-dunes Invasives more aggressive Invasives more aggressive
80-90% of “alpine islands” 80-90% of “alpine islands” 200 to 300 alpine plant species (33- 50%) 200 to 300 alpine plant species (33- 50%) Similar % alpine invertebrates Similar % alpine invertebrates Halloy & Mark 2003. Arctic, Antarctic & Alpine Research 35: 248-254. NZ alpine losses?
Where we are at now 70% deforested 70% deforested 90% wetlands destroyed 90% wetlands destroyed >2000 exotic plant spp. Naturalised >2000 exotic plant spp. Naturalised 40% of avian fauna extinct 40% of avian fauna extinct 32 mammal, 34 birds and 19 fish spp. Naturalised 32 mammal, 34 birds and 19 fish spp. Naturalised Fire common Fire common Fertiliser over 50% of landscape Fertiliser over 50% of landscape
Representative trends Ranges have reduced in 38% (25/66) endemic birds Source: NZ Environment 2007; Atlas of Bird Distribution in NZ 1999-2004
What are the major threats to land biodiversity over next 25 years? 1 Pests 2 Weeds 3 New diseases & pathogens 4 Agricultural intensification 5 Draining of wetlands 6 Coastal development 7 Climate change
Major threats to freshwater biodiversity over next 25 years? 1 Hydro 2 Irrigation 3 Exotic spp 4 New diseases & pathogens 5 Pollution 6 Climate change
Major threats to marine biodiversity over next 25 years? 1 Commerical fishing 2 Harbour/estuary reclamation 3 Recreational fishing 4 Marine farming 5 Exotic spp 6 Climate change
Climate change clear issue well understood universal, credible threat available cheap solutions pathway forward capped costs distributed risks/burden economic upside Biodiversity loss unclear issue poorly understood patchy, ignorable threat few low-cost solutions no clear pathway unlimited costs localised risks/burdens little economic upside
Some Wellington thoughts… ‘There is no cross-government support for biodiversity….’ ‘If we gave you more money, you’d just go out and name more things….. ‘Why don’t you just model biodiversity – NIWA have done it for climate change’
‘Looking after New Zealand’s biodiversity is a bottomless pit. – you could spend the health budget. You never have enough money to do the work you’d like to do.’ Al Morrison – Director General DoC March 07 North & South.
Tylianakis et al. 2008 Ecology Letters 11: 1351 “..higher order effects among multiple drivers acting simultaneously create challenges in predicting future responses to global environmental change, and that extrapolating these complex impacts across entire networks of species interactions yields unanticipated effects on ecosystems.”
‘Projections of impacts will be aided by a better mechanistic understanding of ecological, behavioural, and evolutionary responses to complex patterns of climate change, and in particular to impacts of extreme weather and climate events.’ Camille Parmesan: Annual Rev. Evol. Syst. 2006 27: 637-669
Climate risk analysis Is there a risk to biodiversity? Is there a risk to biodiversity? If so, what can we do? If so, what can we do? At what cost? At what cost? How does it stack up? How does it stack up? Yes Not much High Not well
Final thoughts But, what is good for biodiversity short-term will be good in the long-term too, mostly We are unlikely to get the predictive power to act preemptively on climate change We are unlikely to be funded to do preemptive actions anyway
Grateful for information from: Rod Hay (DOC) Jenny Christie (DOC) Bill Lee (LCR) Sarah Richardson (LCR) Janet Wilmshurst (LCR) Richard Duncan (Lincoln Uni) Phil Hulme (Lincoln Uni) Melanie Harsch (Lincoln Uni) Wendy Ruscoe (LCR) Susan Walker (LCR) John Leathwick (NIWA) Theo Stephens (DOC) James Barringer (LCR)