Climate change poses a growing challenge for managers of all Commonwealth parks and reserves.
Increasing temperatures, sea level rise and changes in rainfall patterns will lead to changes in habitats and the abundance, distribution and composition of native species. Climate change may also exacerbate existing pressures from weeds and introduced pest animals. Changing landscapes and climatic conditions will also have implications for existing recreational and cultural values.
Climate change impacts will vary widely across the breadth of the Parks Australia estate. Each of our parks and reserves is developing strategies specific to its habitats and climate. As these strategies are finalised over the next year, they will be published online.
Our best defence against climate change is a resilient landscape. Parks Australia is actively managing our parks and reserves to maintain healthy habitats, which will give flora and fauna the best chance to adapt to climate change.
Understanding the implications of climate change
Scientific knowledge of the implications of climate change at the local level is in its infancy. Parks Australia is working with the scientific community to obtain detailed modelling at the local scale to help us develop effective response options.
Implementing adaptation measures to maximise the resilience of our reserves
The resilience of our parks and reserves in the face of climate change is dependent both on the rate of change and the ability of the areas to cope. A key focus of park management is to reduce the pressure of invasive species and inappropriate fire regimes to give species and communities their best chance of adapting and evolving.
Reducing our carbon footprint
Operational activities such as electricity use, transport, housing design, development of new infrastructure and waste management all contribute to the carbon footprint. Activities such as revegetation projects, fire and pest management also have implications for the carbon cycle. Parks Australia is putting in place strategies which will reduce the carbon footprint of our parks and reserves.
Working with communities, industries and stakeholders to mitigate and adapt to climate change
Many communities and businesses rely on parks and reserves to attract tourists and provide essential ecosystem services. We are working with local communities and stakeholders to identify and support proactive measures to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and to adapt where climate change induced impacts are unavoidable.
Communicating the implications of climate change and our management response
We are sharing our knowledge with stakeholders, government bodies and the general public to ensure that everyone is informed about potential impacts and our management directions. Effective communication will help ensure that efforts between government agencies, scientific researchers and the community is well coordinated.
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta | Climate Change Strategy 2012-2017
- Christmas Island | Climate Change Strategy 2011-2016
- Pulu Keeling | Climate Change Strategy 2011-2016
- Norfolk Island | Climate Change Strategy 2011-2016
- Australian National Botanic Gardens | Climate Change Strategy 2010-2015
- Booderee National Park | Climate Change Strategy 2010-2015
- Kakadu National Park | Climate Change Strategy 2010-2015
- Parks Australia | Climate Change Strategic Overview 2009-2014
- Australia's Biodiversity and Climate Change
- Climate Change Risk Assessment for the Australian Indian Ocean Territories | Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island
- Implications of Climate Change for Australia's National Reserve System: A Preliminary Assessment
- The implications of climate change for biodiversity conservation and the National Reserve System
- Implications of Climate Change for Australia's World Heritage properties: A Preliminary Assessment
- The Impacts and Management Implications of Climate Change for the Australian Government's Protected Areas
- The National Strategy and Action Plan for the Role of Australia's Botanic Gardens in Adapting to Climate Change - 2008
- The National Reserve System adapting to climate change
- Department of Climate Change
- Sustainable Tourism CRC
- Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CSIRO & BOM)
- IUCN Climate Change
- Tourism Northern Territory: Going Green
- Kakadu National Park Landscape Symposia Series 2007 - 2009
- Climate change risk to world heritage properties | 2 August 2009