Nature is already being forced to respond to climate change, but changes are happening at such an unprecedented rate that we need to help.
In the Australian Alps, grasses are disappearing, forbs are increasing and shrubs are taking over. In the Nardoo Hills north of Wedderburn, trees are dying.
New thinking is emerging around how we manage biodiversity and landscapes to allow nature to adapt.
Whether species can successfully adapt to climate change is a large-part dependent upon how genetically diverse they are.
Connecting the landscape is one way to allow genes to move, but many species are less mobile or have long generation times so gene flow may be too slow to provide the genetic diversity needed for climate adaptation. It may require the process to be accelerated through more active methods like Climate-Future Plots, that use important genetic differences to build in pre-adaption to climate change.
Increasing genetic diversity through establishing ‘climate ready plantings’ will become standard practice. These are plantings that include both ‘non-local’ species from nearby but hotter drier areas as well as ‘non-local provenance’ seed from locally occurring species that have wide-ranges. A number of on-line tools are available to assist with establishing ‘climate ready’ plantings. They have been excellently complied and explained by Nola Hancock and team in Climate-ready revegetation: A guide for natural resource managers.
Jordan and Hoffman - Climate Future Plots. Climate 21 Conference
Jordan and Hoffman - Grey Box Study
Prober et al, 2016. Eucs.