JCU release national climate resilience map

By on 19 May, 2015
QLD climate resilience

Properties Ranked by Climate Resilience. Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland Government.


James Cook University scientists who mapped the entire Australian continent to find the areas that will best support wildlife 70 years from now, have released their research data for public use.

The map was produced by a JCU team from the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, led by Professor Stephen Williams, Associate Professor Jeremy VanDerWal and Dr April Reside, and funded by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.

Associate Professor VanDerWal said JCU researchers considered four greenhouse gas emission scenarios and eighteen global climate change models across eight decades to estimate the future vulnerability of more than 1700 species. The analyses were designed to identify those areas that were likely to be more climatically stable with fewest animals lost.

It revealed that while much of Australia would suffer dramatic species losses in the future, large parts of the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range would fare well. These areas would be less affected by climate change and would retain a greater potential to support significant wildlife populations. Other areas would not fare as well, with large parts of the outback being subjected to increasing impacts.

Assoc Prof VanDerWal said the map was produced with an eye to finding areas where wildlife refuges would be most effective. “It’s the ‘no regrets’ scenario for refuges,” he said. “These areas would likely still support wildlife populations regardless of how much the climate changes under these worst-case scenarios.”

Dr Reside said the research highlighted the important areas that are not yet covered by the current reserve system, and are priorities for inclusion.

The research data, initially published as a report under the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility in 2013, has now been made freely available for anyone to use.

To view the maps and the original research article, access the JCU project dropbox folder.

To access further research data, contact Associate Professor Dr Jeremy VanDerWal, (07) 4781 5570, Jeremy.vanderwal@jcu.edu.au.


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