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The 10 Australian ecosystems most vulnerable to tipping points

Laurance, William F., Dell, Bernard, Turton, Stephen M., Lawes, Michael J., Hutley, Lindsay B., McCallum, Hamish, Dale, Patricia, Bird, Michael, Hardy, Giles, Prideaux, Gavin, Gawne, Ben, McMahon, Clive R., Yu, Richard, Hero, Jean-Marc, Schwarzkopf, Lin, Krockenberger, Andrew, Douglas, Michael M., Silvester, Ewen, Mahony, Michael, Vella, Karen and et al. (2011). The 10 Australian ecosystems most vulnerable to tipping points. Biological Conservation,144(5):1472-1480.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 82057923xPUB28
Title The 10 Australian ecosystems most vulnerable to tipping points
Author Laurance, William F.
Dell, Bernard
Turton, Stephen M.
Lawes, Michael J.
Hutley, Lindsay B.
McCallum, Hamish
Dale, Patricia
Bird, Michael
Hardy, Giles
Prideaux, Gavin
Gawne, Ben
McMahon, Clive R.
Yu, Richard
Hero, Jean-Marc
Schwarzkopf, Lin
Krockenberger, Andrew
Douglas, Michael M.
Silvester, Ewen
Mahony, Michael
Vella, Karen
et al.
Journal Name Biological Conservation
Publication Date 2011
Volume Number 144
Issue Number 5
ISSN 0006-3207   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-79956207058
Start Page 1472
End Page 1480
Total Pages 9
Place of Publication Amsterdam
Publisher Elsevier BV
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract We identify the 10 major terrestrial and marine ecosystems in Australia most vulnerable to tipping points, in which modest environmental changes can cause disproportionately large changes in ecosystem properties. To accomplish this we independently surveyed the coauthors of this paper to produce a list of candidate ecosystems, and then refined this list during a 2-day workshop. The list includes (1) elevationally restricted mountain ecosystems, (2) tropical savannas, (3) coastal floodplains and wetlands, (4) coral reefs, (5) drier rainforests, (6) wetlands and floodplains in the Murray-Darling Basin, (7) the Mediterranean ecosystems of southwestern Australia, (8) offshore islands, (9) temperate eucalypt forests, and (10) salt marshes and mangroves. Some of these ecosystems are vulnerable to widespread phase-changes that could fundamentally alter ecosystem properties such as habitat structure, species composition, fire regimes, or carbon storage. Others appear susceptible to major changes across only part of their geographic range, whereas yet others are susceptible to a large-scale decline of key biotic components, such as small mammals or stream-dwelling amphibians. For each ecosystem we consider the intrinsic features and external drivers that render it susceptible to tipping points, and identify subtypes of the ecosystem that we deem to be especially vulnerable.
Keywords Catastrophes
Climatic change
Ecological resilience
Ecological thresholds
Exotic pests and pathogens
Feral animals
Fire regimes
Global warming
Habitat fragmentation
Invasive species
Sea-level rise
Species extinctions
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Created: Fri, 17 Jan 2014, 00:48:55 CST