Climate change projections and threats to the natural environment
Climate change will continue to affect the natural environment in a variety of ways. Rivers and wetlands will be impacted by changes in the available water quantity (drought, flood, rainfall intensity and the subsequent rate of surface runoff) and also the quality of the available water resource. Water storages and regulated flows can be managed to some extent to mitigate some of these effects.
Climate change will affect native flora and fauna in complex and often unpredictable ways. Current threats to biodiversity, including the impact of habitat loss, weeds, pest animals and drought, are expected to intensify. The more vulnerable ecosystems in the region are areas that are vulnerable to moisture stress and increased risk of bushfires.
Species that have survived previous climatic changes have done so by evolving, changing their behaviour, taking refuge in local areas that are buffered from the changes, or moving to areas where the climate is more suitable. Native plants and animals might find it more difficult to use these coping strategies when the change is rapid, especially where their habitat has been degraded, isolated or lost.
Climate change won’t cause all species to decline. However, changes in climate could lead to new opportunities for the establishment of invasive species, such as weeds and pest animals, as well as some native species.