Some words from our Team Leader – Botany (NSW) Rebecca Dwyer on the effects of climate change on ecological function.
Climate change can alter where species live, how they interact, and the timing of biological events such as flowering and breeding, which could fundamentally transform current ecosystems.
Climate effects on biodiversity also have an impact on survey timing for threatened species, that may not align with the current guidelines and resources recommended by government agencies. The 2020 bushfires had a devastating impact on our biodiversity and the ecological function of the environments at these impacted locations.
As the temperature continues to be unpredictable, we have noticed over the past 3-4 years that some threatened flora species are flowering earlier in the year and in some cases, such as orchids, not flowering at all during a particular year. In addition, some fauna species such amphibians, are breeding earlier or later in the year, and in some cases the breeding period is very short (2-3 weeks) depending on the temperature and rain events occurring in that year.
As ecological consultants we need to continually adapt to the ever-changing environment in which we work, and ensure we are communicating with our clients and government industries, to ensure each and every project we work on runs smoothly and everyone is on the same page in relation to adaptive survey methods and timing.