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Vulnerability to climate change and sea-level rise of the 35th biodiversity hotspot, the Forests of East Australia

  • C. BELLARD (a1) (a2), C. LECLERC (a1), B. D. HOFFMANN (a3) and F. COURCHAMP (a1) (a4)

There is an urgent need to understand how climate change, including sea-level rise, is likely to threaten biodiversity and cause secondary effects, such as agro-ecosystem alteration and human displacement. The consequences of climate change, and the resulting sea-level rise within the Forests of East Australia biodiversity hotspot, were modelled and assessed for the 2070–2099 period. Climate change effects were predicted to affect c. 100000 km2, and a rise in sea level an area of 860 km2; this could potentially lead to the displacement of 20600 inhabitants. The two threats were projected to mainly affect natural and agricultural areas. The greatest conservation benefits would be obtained by either maintaining or increasing the conservation status of areas in the northern (Wet Tropics) or southern (Sydney Basin) extremities of the hotspot, as they constitute about half of the area predicted to be affected by climate change, and both areas harbour high species richness. Increasing the connectivity of protected areas for Wet Tropics and Sydney Basin species to enable them to move into new habitat areas is also important. This study provides a basis for future research on the effects on local biodiversity and agriculture.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Dr Celine Bellard e-mail:
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