Australia's biodiversity and climate change by W L Steffen; CSIRO (Australia); et al

By W L Steffen; CSIRO (Australia); et al

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Species specific features such as dispersal ability, reproductive rate and competitive ability affect their spatial and temporal dynamics. 1â•… Ecological principles relevant to environmental change. Native species that become agricultural ‘pests’ are preadapted to rapid responses. Some native species cope with radical change better than others because of life history and/or genetic plasticity. Some exotic predators operate on widely different scales; other impacts are location-specific. Responses to human-induced changes on terrestrial native species differ widely in response to urbanisation and land clearing.

G. , Lantana spp. Reduction of brigalow Acacia harpophylla woodland due to clearing of vegetation for agriculture. Reduction of limestone grasslands due to urbanisation. Change in desert communities due to exotic predators. Reduction in mangrove, seagrass and salt marsh communities due to coastal development. Shift in coral reef communities dominated by hard corals to those dominated by algae as a result of overfishing of herbivorous fish species and increased nutrients. 28 Australia’s Biodiversity and Climate Change Ecological principles Variations in time and space (heterogeneity) enhance biotic diversity.

Source: Environmental Resources Information Network. 33 34 Australia’s Biodiversity and Climate Change • • construction of watering points in grazing areas diversion of water for crop irrigation. Increasing the nutrient capital on Australia’s infertile soils, almost always in order to grow crops and fodder, has many unintended consequences for native biodiversity. The addition of superphosphate to pastures in Australia in conjunction with widespread tree clearing, and what we now know was overstocking, leads to a cascade of biological interactions, such as increasing pasture tree dieback.

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