Assessing the vulnerability of an assemblage of subtropical rainforest vertebrate species to climate change in south-east Queensland

Hagger, Valerie, Fisher, Diana, Schmidt, Susanne and Blomberg, Simon (2013) Assessing the vulnerability of an assemblage of subtropical rainforest vertebrate species to climate change in south-east Queensland. Austral Ecology, 38 4: 465-475.


Author Hagger, Valerie
Fisher, Diana
Schmidt, Susanne
Blomberg, Simon
Title Assessing the vulnerability of an assemblage of subtropical rainforest vertebrate species to climate change in south-east Queensland
Journal name Austral Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1442-9985
1442-9993
Publication date 2013-06
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2012.02437.x
Volume 38
Issue 4
Start page 465
End page 475
Total pages 11
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Global climate change is a threat to ecosystems that are rich in biodiversity and endemism, such as the World Heritage-listed subtropical rainforests of central eastern Australia. Possible effects of climate change on the biota of tropical rainforests have been studied, but subtropical rainforests have received less attention. We analysed published data for an assemblage of 38 subtropical rainforest vertebrate species in four taxonomic groups to evaluate their relative vulnerability to climate change. Focusing on endemic and/or threatened species, we considered two aspects of vulnerability: (i) resistance, defined by indicators of rarity (geographical range, habitat specificity and local abundance); and (ii) resilience, defined by indicators of a species potential to recover (reproductive output, dispersal potential and climatic niche). Our analysis indicated that frogs are most vulnerable to climate change, followed by reptiles, birds, then mammals. Many species in our assemblage are regionally endemic montane rainforest specialists with high vulnerability. Monitoring of taxa in regenerating rainforest showed that many species with high resilience traits also persisted in disturbed habitat, suggesting that they have capacity to recolonize habitats after disturbance, that is climate change-induced events. These results will allow us to prioritize adaptation strategies for species most at risk. We conclude that to safeguard the most vulnerable amphibian, reptile and bird species against climate change, climatically stable habitats (cool refugia) that are currently without protection status need to be identified, restored and incorporated in the current reserve system. Our study provides evidence that montane subtropical rainforest deserves highest protection status as habitat for vulnerable taxa.
Keyword Biodiversity
Climate change
Extinction risk
Subtropical rainforest
Vulnerability
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 20 August 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 13 Nov 2012, 10:53:32 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences