Climate change pressure on the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia
Climate change presents one of the greatest emerging challenges for the protection of Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage values.
The Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage Area is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Projected climate change impacts, resulting in higher temperatures, extended periods of drought, more frequent and intense wildfire events and storms, and changes to the cloud base, mist availability or rainfall, are emerging as a high-level threat to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value.
Even small climatic changes could change the distribution patterns of many endemic species and vegetation communities, particularly high-altitude species and vegetation communities with particular thermal and moisture tolerances.
Climate change may already be impacting some of the World Heritage values; these impacts are expected to increase.
Climate change is also predicted to exacerbate other threatening processes such as invasive species and pathogens, as well as fluctuations in rainfall patterns and altered fire regimes.
In the short-term, this threat is considered ‘moderate’, however as the effects of climate change become more pronounced over the medium to long term, the threat will be considered ‘very high’.
Additional research on the climate vulnerability of World Heritage values will enhance management planning, monitoring and on-ground action.