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A review of ecosystem services research in Australia reveals a gap in integrating climate change and impacts on ecosystem services
journal contributionposted on 12.09.2018, 00:00 by M Alamgir, PL Pert, Stephen TurtonStephen Turton
Ecosystem services (ES) are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. A substantial part of human well-being is dependent on the sustainable flow of ES. Climate change, economic growth and an increasing human population has placed greater pressures on global ES. Australias ecosystems are among the most vulnerable sectors to climate change. Hence, a comprehensive review is necessary to explore ES research that integrates climate change impacts. Our review reveals that ES research in Australia, stimulated in the early 2000s, has continued to increase consistently after the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Australian ES research has primarily focused on the impact of land-use change and management, policy and governance issues, but less on the impact of climate change on ES. Climate change models show that climate will threaten most of the main ES in Australia by 2050. For the sustainable management of these ES-incorporating climate change-ecosystem and ES specific adaptations are suggested as the best sustainable policy tools for the future. Therefore, further research needs to incorporate climate change and ES for evidence-based sustainable management of Australias ES. We provide the following recommendations for future ES research: (i) evaluating the extent and trend of climate change impacts on ES through consideration of different climate change scenarios; (ii) preparing vulnerability maps of important ES that are likely to be sensitive to climate change and (iii) developing ecosystem and ES specific adaptations to climate change that involve key stakeholders. © 2014 Taylor and Francis.