Climate change could remake Australia

Sept. 19, 2012 at 4:18 PM
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CANBERRA, Australia, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Climate change will have a major impact on Australia's plants, animals and ecosystems and present challenges to the conservation of biodiversity, a study found.

Australia's species and ecosystems to sensitive climate change and the country must find news ways of considering conservation, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization reported Wednesday.

"Climate change is likely to start to transform some of Australia's natural landscapes by 2030," lead researcher Michael Dunlop said.

"By 2070, the ecological impacts are likely to be very significant and widespread. Many of the environments our plants and animals currently exist in will disappear from the continent.

"Our grandchildren are likely to experience landscapes that are very different to the ones we have known," Dunlop said.

Climate change will magnify existing threats to biodiversity such as habitat clearing, water extraction and invasive species, while future climate-driven changes in other sectors such as agriculture, water supply and electricity supply could put yet more pressure on species and ecosystems, he said.

Maintaining the health of ecosystems as they change in response to climate change from one type of ecosystem to another should be a policy focus, he said.

"This could need new expectations from the community, possibly new directions in conservation policy, and new science to guide management."

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