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Securing species under climate change

Photo: Mark Jekabsons
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Glossy Black- and Gang-gang cockatoos

How do we conserve the vulnerable Glossy Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) and endangered Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum) under climate change? 

The highly dispersive Glossy Black-Cockatoo is an obligate hollow-nester that requires shallow water for drinking and feeds exclusively on seeds from cones of Casuarina and Allocasuarina she-oak trees. The southern subspecies lathami has a declining range and a small and declining population size.  Similarly, the Gang-gang cockatoo is a highly dispersive, obligate hollow-nester with an estimated population decline of 69%.  Both species were impacted by the 2019/2020 bushfires and were identified as likely species to be impacted by climate change.

Researchers Dr April Reside and Dr Andrew Rogers collaborated with members from the ACT Government to develop management plans that accounted for climate threats to the species.  The process involved three steps to find out:

1. How is climate change likely to manifest?

2. What will it mean for species' ecological needs and current threats?

3. What are the management options?

Find out more about the project here!

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Tarengo Leek Orchid

Prasophyllum petilum is a geophytic orchid - it lays dormant underground through autumn and winter and, if conditions are good enough, it emerges in late spring and flowers in summer.  As well as having specific temperature and rainfall thresholds, P. petilum has a complex symbiosis with pollinators and its orchid mycorrhizal fungi.  There are only a few small populations known across its distribution in NSW and the ACT, therefore management actions that address climate change are crucial for the conservation of the species.

Master of Conservation Science student Caitlin Rutherford and her supervisors Drs April Reside and Andrew Rogers have developed a framework for incorporating climate change adaptation into threatened species management. The project involved collaborating with ecologists and managers from the governments of the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales to identify the significant climate-related threats to the endangered Tarengo leek orchid (Prasophyllum petilum) and develop management actions to address them. The framework is intended to be repeatable for other species for rapid assessment and management, using expert elicitation to combat the lack of published knowledge that often comes with rare or restricted species. The project facilitated knowledge-sharing between managers in different jurisdictions and has already produced promising updates to the management of this threatened orchid species.


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