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Wildlife and climate change: are robust strategies for Australian fauna possible?

Lunney, D. and Hutchings, P. (2012) Wildlife and climate change: are robust strategies for Australian fauna possible? In: Lunney, D. and Hutchings, P., (eds.) Wildlife and climate change: towards robust conservation strategies for Australian fauna. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW, Australia, pp. 180-201.

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The link between climate change and wildlife is far from clear in the public mind. This paper tackles that issue through an overview of this book and a review of writings by scientists and others since 1970, including discussing strategies for conserving biodiversity in a changing Australian climate. The beginning of the modern era of climate change thinking in Australian is vivid in the book Greenhouse: planning for climate change (Pearman 1988). Clive Hamilton (2001), in Running from the storm, stated that climate change is perhaps the most serious environmental threat facing humanity in the 21st century. In Science as a contact sport, Stephen Schneider (2009) recounted the buffeting that he took on both the political front and from the media. Schneider started his academic life as a physicist, but by the time he wrote his book he had understood the fundamental debate about the environment. Schneider says that when he was asked what is the difference between the early, carefully hedged warnings of 30 years ago and now, he replied that it is not that the basic science has changed but that nature is cooperating with the theory. In the second edition of Climate change, Pittock (2009) said that developments since 2005 in the science, the observations and the politics of climate change are substantial and the urgency of the climate change challenge is now far more apparent than in 2005. Will Steffen (2009), with seven other Australian ecologists, in Australia's biodiversity and climate change, stated that the additional effects of climate change will exacerbate current threats and cause unprecedented additional stresses on Australia's biodiversity in their own right. We asked at the outset: are robust strategies for Australian fauna possible? Our answer is that they are possible. Many ecologists, Jamieson (2008) noted in Ethics and the environment, consider that species extinction and biodiversity losses are the early stage of an environmental catastrophe but, he added, not everyone thinks that these things matter. We do, and that was the driving force behind writing this paper and editing this book following on from the Royal Zoological Society of NSW forum on wildlife and climate change.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales
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