What is a climate future plot?
Posted on 13 August, 2020 by Ivan
You may have heard the terms ‘climate future plot‘, ‘climate-resilient landscapes‘ or ‘climate-ready revegetation‘, but what do they actually mean? Well, in simple terms, they refer to the use of climate change modelling to plan for revegetation, by using suitable indigenous plants sourced from places with climates similar to that predicted at the revegetation site in decades to come (usually hotter and drier places). Obviously there is a lot of science behind this new and emerging revegetation technique, but we are starting to see working examples in Tasmania and Victoria, which is heartening.
We’ve found Landcarers and landholders in the Mount Alexander region are increasingly concerned about the future viability of their revegetation work, given recent weather patterns and future climate predictions. Many have seen their revegetation plantings die in recent years due to heat and water stress, and some have even stopped planting.
Connecting Country is seeking to address this issue. We’re looking for funding to establish some climate future plots right here in the Mount Alexander region. These specially designed areas of ‘climate-ready’ revegetation would incorporate plants grown from seed both collected locally and from other regions (typically hotter, drier regions to our north). This increases the likelihood that plants will survive as climate impacts intensify. We would carefully design the project, obtain appropriate seed, grow tubestock and find suitable plot locations. Once planted, we would collaborate with citizen scientists to establish an ongoing monitoring program to measure the long-term survival and growth of the plants. This would provide valuable information to guide future revegetation planting.
An excellent working example of a climate-ready revegetation project is at Bush Heritage’s Nardoo Hills Reserve near Wedderburn, Victoria, where climate change is causing extensive dieback of Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) and Yellow Box (E. melliodora) trees. To address this dieback, the revegetation research project has been designed to provide long-term guidance on viable, climate-ready eucalypt revegetation options for the reserve and this region using a strategy called ‘climate-adjusted provenancing’. The research trial will run over many decades but they should gain valuable results and insights each year.
Traditional revegetation programs use locally sourced seed, based on the expectation that they’re the most suited to the local environment. For long-lived species like eucalypts this approach is now considered high risk due to the changing climate.
To read more about Bush Heritage’s climate-ready revegetation project – click here
Please enjoy the following video below, courtesy of Bush Heritage Australia, that highlights the challenges and achievements at Nardoo Hills.