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Biophysical impacts of climate change on Australia's forests. Contribution of Work Package 2 to the Forest Vulnerability Assessment

Medlyn, B.E., Zeppel, M.S.J., Brouwers, N.C., Howard, K., O'Gara, E., Hardy, G., Lyons, T., Li, L. and Evans, B. (2011) Biophysical impacts of climate change on Australia's forests. Contribution of Work Package 2 to the Forest Vulnerability Assessment. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast.

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Abstract

The assessment of the vulnerability of Australian forests to climate change is an initiative of the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC). The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) was approached to carry out a comprehensive Forest Vulnerability Assessment (FVA). NCCARF engaged four research groups to investigate distinct aspects in relation to the vulnerability of forests, each of which has produced a report. In addition a fifth group was engaged to create a summary and synthesis report of the project.

This report – Biophysical impacts of climate change on Australia's forests - is the second in the series. It presents a review of the primary literature on evidence of impacts of climate change on Australian forests. Existing evidence for climate change impacts in relation to direct stresses (CO2, temperature and rainfall), indirect stresses (fire, pests, pathogens and weeds) and plant processes (growth, transpiration and phenology) is discussed. The report concludes with a discussion of the overall impact of climate change on vegetation and the ecosystem services provided by forests. It should be noted that there have been several excellent reviews of climate change impacts on Australian forests as well as reports on
climate change impacts on natural heritage and biodiversity. Conclusions drawn from these earlier reviews are not repeated. Instead, the report focuses on drawing evidence from the primary literature, including grey literature. Relevant literature was identified by bibliographic searches and in consultation with experts across Australia.

This review highlighted a number of uncertainties involved in assessing forest vulnerability to climate change. These include uncertainty over changes in the climate, the ecosystem-scale responses to climate change, and interactions of climate change impacts with other global change processes. There is, however, clear evidence of the impact of some individual factors.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre of Excellence for Climate Change and Forest and Woodland Health
School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Series Name: An Assessment of the Vulnerability of Australian Forests to the Impacts of Climate Change
Publisher: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility
Copyright: © Macquarie University, Murdoch University, 2010
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4442
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