Are management sites for threatened species in NSW resilient to climate change?
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 11:33 authored by Elissa McFarlane
Anthropogenic climate change is already having substantial impacts on species, with numerous species undergoing shifts to their range margins. However, many threatened species are restricted to fragmented bushland remnants, and are highly unlikely to be able to shift their range to track the movement of climate zones. In New South Wales, around 440 threatened species have been designated as ‘site-managed species’: their populations are located at discrete sites that require management to ensure the species’ security beyond 2100. Unfortunately, the selection of managed sites did not consider whether climate will remain suitable for species over this time frame. This project interrogated maps of climate suitability under 12 plausible climate scenarios for 238 of these threatened species to (a) assess whether managed sites are likely to retain suitable habitat from now to 2070, and (b) identify whether populations outside of managed sites may be better candidates for site-management, based on the longevity of suitable habitat. Given cumulative threats from climate change and land use change, identifying areas where investment of finite resources will have greatest impact is vital to ensuring the survival of these species.