LFAT publications

Summary of papers related to Landscape Futures Analysis

Journal articles

Species vulnerability to climate change: impacts on spatial conservation priorities and species representation
David Summers, Brett Bryan, Neville Crossman and Wayne Meyer
Native plant species are particularly vulnerable to climate change which may shrink and/or shift their geographic range, and targeted conservation is required to facilitate adaptation. We quantified the vulnerability to climate change of plant species based on exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity and assessed the effects of including these components in complementarity-based spatial conservation prioritisation. We modelled the vulnerability of 584 native plant species under three climate change scenarios in an 11.9 million hectare fragmented agricultural region in southern Australia. We quantified exposure as species’ geographic range under climate change using species distribution models. We calculated sensitivity as a function of the impact of climate change on species’ geographic ranges. Using a dispersal kernel, we quantified adaptive capacity as species’ ability to migrate to new geographic ranges under climate change scenarios. Using Zonation, we assessed the impact of individual components of vulnerability (exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity) on spatial conservation priorities and levels of species representation in priority areas under each climate change scenario. The full vulnerability framework proved an effective basis for identifying spatial conservation priorities under climate change. Including different dimensions of vulnerability had significant implications for spatial conservation priorities. Incorporating adaptive capacity increased the level of representation of most species. However, prioritising sensitive species reduced the representation of other species. We conclude that whilst taking an integrated approach to mitigating species vulnerability to climate change can ensure sensitive species are well-represented in a conservation network, this can come at the cost of reduced representation of other species. Conservation planning decisions aimed at reducing species vulnerability to climate change need to be made in full cognisance of the sensitivity of spatial conservation priorities to individual components of vulnerability, and the trade-offs associated with focussing on sensitive species.
Summers, D. M., B. A. Bryan, et al. (2012). "Species vulnerability to climate change: impacts on spatial conservation priorities and species representation." Global Change Biology 18(7): 2335-2348.



Adapted future landscapes - from aspiration to implementation
Prof. Wayne Meyer, Dr Brett Bryan, Dr Greg Lyle, Ms Josie McLean, Mr Travis Moon, Dr Mark Siebentritt, Dr David Summers, Dr Sam Wells
This project worked with the Eyre Peninsula and South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions to develop a process of science based “optioneering” that explored future land use options that could be embedded in NRM Board planning and community engagement. The project sought to integrate a stakeholder engagement process called envisioning with the development of a web based planning interface called the Landscape Futures Analysis Tool. The envisioning process helped to identify the values that people influencing NRM use in making decisions about engagement, plans and actions, while the LFAT enabled easy assessment of the possible implications for land use and water resources arising from climate change, commodity prices and carbon pricing.
A series of facilitated workshops was used to explore the application of envisioning. It was apparent that all levels of the planning system, from state public servants to farmers, want the planning process “experienced” in the same way. Core principles relevant to future use of the envisioning process that were identified during the project include: that envisioning can operate as a bridge between science and decision making; that it can integrate the contribution from multiple stakeholders with diverse perspectives; and that we must be able to adapt the process to local variations in the social, political, agricultural and natural landscape.
The Landscape Futures Analysis Tool (http://www.lfat. org.au) is underpinned by analyses that were mostly developed from existing models that were added to and refined for this project, partly on the basis of local experience. Climate change scenarios were based on relevant recent climate (S0), and a mild (S1), moderate (S2) and severe (S3) increase in temperature with accompanying decrease in annual rainfall. All data and projections were developed using regional spatial data stored and subsequently displayed as Geographic Information System (GIS) map layers.
The analysis finds that it will be possible to adapt to a changing climate if changes in land use are made. It also highlights that policy incentives are likely to be needed to guide and encourage changed practice. Use of the LFAT helped to demonstrate to end users that:
  • agricultural opportunities in the region rest on the adoption of different management regimes or changes in land use on soil types identified as being negatively impacted by climate change;
  • in both study regions, conservation priorities became concentrated in more southern latitudes and higher altitudes as warming and drying increased;
  • a large gradient exists in carbon sequestration potential from the drier to wetter areas with economically viable carbon plantings indicated only in the wetter areas
It is evident from evaluation of the project with the two partner NRM regions that the analysis and LFAT have been beneficial in raising awareness of the possible changes that can occur in the region and that many land use options can be considered in developing new NRM plans. Accompanying this is a greater appreciation of the need for capacity development through training. Science informed, climate-ready planning requires quality tools like LFAT, together with the predisposition of regional planners through willingness, capacity and commitment.
Meyer, W, Bryan, B, Lyle, G, McLean, J, Moon, T, Siebentritt, M, Summers, D, Wells, S (2013), Adapted Future Landscapes – From Aspiration to Implementation, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Southport.
Climate Change, Community and Environment. Building research capability to identify climate change vulnerability and adaptation options for South Australian landscapes
Wayne Meyer, Brett Bryan, Jeff Connor, David Davenport, Anne Fordham, Rodolphe Gonzales, Nicole Halsey, Peter Hayman, Bart Kellett, Darran King, Ian Laughlin, Greg Lyle, Grazio Maiorano, Travis Moon, Tony Sharley, Mark Seibentritt, John Spoehr, Mark Stanley, David Summers, Dorothy Turner
This report presents the development and outcomes to-date of the Premier’s Science and Research Fund Project ‘Building research capability to identify climate change vulnerability and adaptation options for South Australian landscapes’.
This final report provides a comprehensive overview of the project including its background, aims, methodology, key findings and outputs and outcomes to date. This will provide an appropriate reference for the project and be important as a Climate Change (CC) library resource.
The project seeks to understand the potential impacts of CC within a region and to identify planning options that can assist adaptation. A robust methodology has been used to examine future CC scenarios within two SA NRM areas, Eyre Peninsula (EP) and South Australian Murray Darling Basin (SA MDB) and assesses possible changes in a range of natural resource and social contexts.
The project’s key methodology was based around a landscape futures analysis framework. This included determining the specific regional responses to climate change scenarios and determining possible implications for changes in the distribution of land use as the region adapts to the changed conditions.
The project objective was to build the capacity of a multi-disciplinary research and influencing team. It sought to extend CC science through the development of appropriate models and assessments of CC effects across key components in regional natural resource management (NRM) areas. These components include primary production, carbon capture and bio-fuels, ecosystem function, water resources, and economic and social development.
The project was delivered with significant engagement with regional NRM staff along with capacity building opportunities for research staff. In this process considerable research and communication Final Project Report- Building research capability to identify climate change vulnerability and adaptation options Final Project Report- Building research capability to identify climate change vulnerability and adaptation options for South Australian landscapes. Page 8 outputs have been generated that can form the base for further refinement and extended application of the methodologies. This report provides the overview of how the project achievements can inform the planning and implementation of climate ready plans in South Australian NRM regions.
Meyer, W. S., Bryan, B., Connor, J., Davenport, D., Fordham, A., Gonzales, R., Halsey, N., Hayman, P., Kellett, B., King, D., Laughlin, I., Lyle, G., Maiorano, G., Moon, T., Sharley, T., Siebentritt, M., Spoehr, J., Stanley, M., Summers, D., Turner, D. (2012). Climate Change, Community and Environment. Building research capability to identify climate change vulnerability and adaptation options for South Australian landscapes. The Premier’s Science and Research Fund Final Report. The Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide.
Climate Change Impact Assessment Report for the SA Murray-Darling region. Milestone 3 Report
David Summers, Mark Siebentritt, Tony Sharley, Wayne Meyer, Brett Bryan, Jeff Connor and John Spoehr
The Climate Change impact assessment, adaptation and emerging opportunities for the SA Murray-Darling region (CCAP) project is the umbrella project in a suite of 21 projects as part of the Strengthening Basin Communities (SBC) program funded by the Australian Government. The funding was provided to eleven councils1 within the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) Natural Resources Management Region to undertake this work:
Findings from the project will assist the region to plan for a climate changed future through addressing risk and its implications and identifying options for adaptation (including emerging industries and associated socio demographic patterns). The key deliverables for the project are:
  1. Climate Change Scenarios;
  2. Climate Change Impact Assessment Report;
  3. Adaptation and Emerging Opportunities Plan; and
  4. Horticultural/Rural Lands Review.
In this report we assess the impacts of climate change on the councils, communities, industries and services that exist within the South Australian MDB Natural Resources Management Region. To do this we examine the:
  • major dryland and irrigated production systems to identify the impact of climate change on agriculture
  • biophysical impacts that affect agricultural productivity as well as the potential economic viability and changes in the area under production.
  • likely impact of emergent industries such as alternative energies and water trading.
This report should be read in conjunction with the other reports submitted for the Strengthening Basin Communities Program Planning component Consultancy SBC033A.1/2.
Summers, D., Siebentritt, M., Sharley, T., Meyer, W., Bryan, B., Connor, J. and Spoehr, J. (2011). Climate change impact assessment report for the Sa Murray-Darling region. Milestone 3 Report. The Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide.
Adaptation and emerging opportunities for the SA Murray-Darling region. Milestone 2 Report.
Bart Kellett, David Summers, Kate Barnett, Mark Siebentritt, Wayne Meyer, John Spoehr
This report addresses one of the three deliverables for the second milestone of the project, which focuses on adaptation and emerging opportunities. This report is a precursor to the final Adaptation and Emerging Opportunities Plan for the third and final project milestone.
The Milestone 1 climate change scenarios report identified that warmer and dryer conditions will be experienced across the SA Murray Darling region over the coming decades. Strong economic foundations are critical for local communities to adapt to these changes. Any number of actions and policies can be proposed, and this report presents several, but their effectiveness hinges on local economies.
The international trend to control carbon emissions is expanding. The European Union and New Zealand already have carbon emissions trading systems. There is mounting pressure to introduce a price on carbon in Australia. Carbon emissions trading and carbon taxes aim to curb greenhouse gas emissions and thereby encourage economic activity with low carbon pollution. The result is a low carbon economy.
A low carbon economy is inevitable because fossil resources, many of which are primary sources of carbon pollution, are increasingly scarce. The peak production of phosphorus, crude oil, coal, and natural gas are projected for 2040-2050, now-2015, now-2048 and 2030 respectively. Beyond peak production, competition will drive prices higher until alternatives become feasible. However, some argue that not all of the gap created can be filled by alternatives. Also, the transition to alternative resources will be very costly, because in many cases it involves whole new systems for developing, distributing and using them.
In developing strategy for adapting to the effects of climate change, local government can consider vulnerability and risk management frameworks, community perspectives and existing climate change adaptation initiatives including the Local Government Association Mutual Liability Scheme (LGAMLS). Further information on each of these elements is presented in the report.
Any strategy should start with a vision of where your community wants to be in 20 to 50 years. To help with this task we have provided four alternative management scenarios that highlight costs and benefits of diverse approaches. These include aimless wanderer, isolated centre, bigger is better and resilient town and region. The purpose of these scenarios is to provide a structured basis for discussion and development of a desirable community vision.
Kellett, B., Summers, D., Barnett, K., Siebentritt, M., Meyer, W., Spoehr, J. (2010). Adaptation and emerging opportunities for the SA Murray-Darling region. Milestone 2 Report. The Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide.
Climate Change impact assessment, adaptation and emerging opportunities for the SA Murray-Darling region
Peter Hayman, Bronya Alexander, Bart Kellett, David Summers, Brett Bryan, Jeff Connor, John Spoehr, Vigya Sharma, Tony Sharley, Greg Lyle, Mark Siebentritt, Wayne Meyer
Climate variability and climate change Weather is variable but follows a well established seasonal trend. Taken over a year the annual trends in temperature, rainfall, humidity and cloudiness are referred to as climate indicators. The year to year climate indicators are variable. But now, over and above this quite normal variability the measurements are showing persistent trends that indicate that our climate is changing. The best projections of the climate indicators for the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resource Management region indicate that conditions will generally be warmer and drier. Measurements from the last 50 years indicate that this warmer, drying trend is already evident particularly in the most recent 10 to 15 years. The expectation is that during the next 20 years, annual temperature will increase by another 0.8°C and over the next 60 years by 1.8°C compared with temperatures during the 1990’s. Projections for rainfall are much less certain compared with temperature but these indicate a decrease of 3.5% in the next 20 years and 10% less in the 60 year period. This means that areas that normally expect say, 350 mm will receive 337 mm on average, a small but perhaps significant reduction particularly if the reduction occurs during winter and spring. The important message from the climate analysis is that measureable changes and trends are occurring. Projections of future trends are not certain but it is extremely prudent that plans and actions be implemented now since business as usual will not be a viable option for the future. One useful method for planning in the face of significant but uncertain change is to develop responses to a set of possible future scenarios. To make best use of scenario planning it is important to decide on the content and range of scenarios to be developed. It is also important to decide on which stakeholders should be part of the consultation process in forming up the scenarios. Effects of climate change and relevance to local government This section of the report provides a brief description of the possible activities affected by climate change and the nature of the effect. Because local government is the closest to community it has a broad range of responsibilities that are and will be affected by local climate conditions. These are considered and described along with broad discussion of impacts on agriculture. Notably, attempting to consider all of the possible effects at once can be bewildering. So this review proposes a framework to help understand and provide a systematic way of working through the possible effects and in turn the possible responses. The framework helps identify the most “sensitive” or “vulnerable” activities and hence provides a way of prioritising where to focus work on adapting to climate change. All activities of local government will be influenced by climate change. This will continue to occur for the foreseeable future and so planning and actions will need ongoing revision. It will be important to develop a process that can be used to assess priorities associated with infrastructure and community obligations. Is vulnerability analysis set in the context of local government a way of helping to set this prioritisation process? Adapting to and exploring opportunities with climate change There are many adaptation options and opportunities that will be of interest to local government. These may relate to the specific adaptation measures by councils or emerging opportunities in relation to agriculture through, for example, biofuels agriculture and biomass agriculture. The most important first step is identifying the possible effect and considering the adaptation options i.e. being informed. As a general approach to adaptation it will be important to identify those actions that increase the resilience of the services and community to withstand and bounce back from increased extreme events.
Hayman, P., Alexander, B., Kellett, B., Summers, D., Bryan, B., Connor, J., Spoehr, J., Sharma, V., Sharley, T., Lyle, G., Siebentritt, M. and Meyer, W.(2010). Climate Change impact assessment, adaptation and emerging opportunities for the SA Murray-Darling region. Milestone 1 Report. The Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide.



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