This document is a summary of the key issues for policymakers derived from a strategic assessment
of the vulnerability of Australia’s biodiversity to the impacts of climate change.
The assessment wascommissioned by the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC). It was undertakenby an independent Expert Advisory Group, chaired by Professor Will Steffen from the ANU, reporting tothe Department of Climate Change.
This is the first such national assessment of the vulnerability of Australia’s biodiversity to climate change.The assessment’s main focus is on terrestrial biodiversity. This is partly because there has been a recentanalysis of the impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity generally1 (and the Great Barrier Reefin particular2); and partly because there is relatively little research to date on the consequences of climatechange for freshwater biodiversity. Work is now underway to provide a preliminary assessment ofimplications for high conservation value freshwater systems.
Three products have come out of the vulnerability assessment: a full report in the form of a book; aTechnical Summary; and this short Summary for Policy Makers.
The Expert Advisory Group’s assessment does not necessarily represent the views of individual statesand territories, or the Australian Government. However, the insights gained through the biodiversityvulnerability assessment should provide a valuable source of guidance and information for biodiversitypractitioners in developing climate change adaptation strategies for Australia’s biodiversity.
The NRMMC is continuing its effort to confront the challenges of climate change and has identifieda broad suite of priorities to be addressed over the period 2009 to 2012. These include a review ofthe National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biological Diversity – Australia’s premierbiodiversity conservation policy statement – and a review of the National Action Plan for Biodiversityand Climate Change, due to be undertaken in 2009.