Climate Change and Australia’s plantation estate: Analysis of vulnerability and preliminary investigation of adaptation options

Australia’s climate is predicted to change by 2030 with average temperatures increasing between 0.4 and 2oC, reductions in average rainfall in southern, southwest and much of eastern Australia and increased rainfall across the Tropical North. By modeling how various climate change scenarios affect plant physiology, this study identifies how Australia’s forests will be affected in the future.

The report identified that responses to climate changes will vary depending on the particulars of each local site, and that knowledge of the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on plantation species is poor. If plantation species are able to increase photosynthetic rates under elevated CO2 levels productivity in cool wet locations is forecast to increase. However, if elevated CO2 levels don’t bring significant benefits production will decrease. In addition to the direct effects of climate change on plantations such as reduced water availability and hotter temperatures, there may be other impacts caused by changes in disease and pest distribution, and changes in fire frequency.

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