A continent under stress: interactions, feedbacks and risks associated with impact of modified land cover on Australia's climate

McAlpine, C. A. and Syktus, J. and Ryan, J. G. and Deo, R. C. and McKeon, G. M. and McGowan, H. A. and Phinn, S. R. (2009) A continent under stress: interactions, feedbacks and risks associated with impact of modified land cover on Australia's climate. Global Change Biology, 15 (9). pp. 2206-2223. ISSN 1354-1013


Global climate change is the major and most urgent global environmental issue. Australia is already experiencing climate change as evidenced by higher temperatures and more frequent and severe droughts. These impacts are compounded by increasing land use pressures on natural resources and native ecosystems. This paper provides a synthesis of the interactions, feedbacks and risks of natural climate variability, climate change and land use/land cover change (LUCC) impacting on the Australian continent and how they vary regionally. We review evidence of climate change and underlying processes resulting from interactions between global warming caused by increased concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases and modification of the land surface. The consequences of ignoring the effect of LUCC on current and future droughts in Australia could have catastrophic consequences for the nation's environment, economy and communities. We highlight the need for more integrated, long-term and adaptive policies and regional natural resource management strategies that restore the beneficial feedbacks between native vegetation cover and local-regional climate, to help ameliorate the impact of global warming.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author version not held.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Maths and Computing
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2010 07:14
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2014 05:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: anticipatory policy; climate change; drought; ecosystem collapse; El Nin˜o; land cover change; land surface feedbacks; land use pressures; landscape resilience; tipping points
Fields of Research : 04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040104 Climate Change Processes
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts)
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01939.x
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/7435

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