Susan Sweeney_Climate change science into policy: the TREND experiment in South Australia
Climate change science intopolicy: the TREND experimentin South Australia http://www.trendsa.org.au/Susan Sweeney & Phil PisanuDepartment of Environment,Water and Natural Resources
Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR)• DEWNR’s role in managing SA’s natural resources ranges from policy leadership to on-ground delivery with regional Natural Resources Management (NRM) Boards.• The issues we work on include: climate change, sustainable land management, water security, public estate management and biodiversity conservation.
Interpreting ClimateScience for NRM Policy andPlanning in South Australia• Significant investment by DEWNR in policy development for adaptation to climate change.• Eg DEWNR Corporate Plan, State Climate Change Strategy and Adaptation Framework, State NRM Plan.• NRM regions also address climate change in their plans.
• Despite recognition of climate change as a policy priority, perception within DEWNR is that climate change research is not being used effectively to inform policy development and the delivery of NRM programs.• Also concerns from research partners about the lack of up-take of new science generated specifically for the South Australian Government.• South Australian TRansect for ENvironmental monitoring and Decision making (TREND) attempting to bridge the science/policy interface http://www.trendsa.org.au/
• TREND - SA Gov funded climate change project• Policy translation theme important condition of funding• Component of the Multi-Scale Plot Network within TERN• Establishing baseline monitoring transects in SA• Assessing likely impacts of climate change on terrestrial and marine ecosystems, agricultural production and human dimensions (space as a proxy for time).
TREND policy translationAim:• Ensure research undertaken is policy relevant• Support evidence based decision making by government• Identify the broad policy questions that government needs answering
What did we do?• NRM policy officers and planners invited to relevant workshops.• Before each workshop, invitees provided with information about TREND and main climate change policy drivers in SA• Eg SA Strategic Plan, Climate Change Adaptation Framework, Draft Marine Park Management Plans, NatureLinks, State NRM plan• Invitees were asked to provide 3-4 draft policy questions which were NatureLinks compiled and synthesised prior to the workshop.
• At each workshop, appropriate research scientists provided detailed description of research aims and methodology• Marine (Prof Corey Bradshaw & Dr Jason Tanner)• Terrestrial biodiversity (Prof Andy Lowe & Dr Greg Guerin)• Agricultural Production (Dr Peter Hayman & Dr Dane Thomas)• Workshop participants considered, word-smithed and prioritised previously distributed draft policy questions, with guidance from scientists, as to what was realistically achievable from their research.• Therefore policy issues were identified prior to the workshops and the workshops focussed on the synergies between the policy issues and the planned research.
Marine Biodiversity QuestionHow can TREND inform considerations for marine adaptation andmanagement? That is, how will changing marine invertebratedistributions affect the representativeness of marine parks?
Agricultural Production Questions 1. What is the vulnerability in terms of agricultural production of different agricultural regions and industries? 2. What is the vulnerability in terms of risk of environmental degradation (eg wind and water erosion) of different agricultural regions and industries?Liddicoat C, Hayman P, Alexander B, Rowland J,Maschmedt D, Young M-A, Hall J, Herrmann T,Sweeney S, 2012, Climate change, wheatproduction and erosion risk in South Australia’scropping zone: Linking crop simulation modellingto soil landscape mapping, Government of SouthAustralia, through Department of Environment,Water and Natural Resources.
Terrestrial Biodiversity Questions1. What drives species composition in the region and how willthis be affected by climate change? – What species or ecosystems could provide early indicators of stress? – What species and ecological communities are most and least at risk from climate change and what are the expected impacts? – How will climate change interact with other disturbance to influence ecosystem attributes?2. What adaptation strategies could improve the resilienceof key species and communities? – What shifts in distribution, species composition and ecological characteristics can we expect? • = TREND – What are the implications for conservation planning monitoring sites and landscape design?
Callistemon teretifolius (Family Myrtaceae) A) current climate; B) 2030 low scenario; C) 2030 high scenario. Dark green - dark red indicates unsuitable - suitable habitat* Models do not represent projected distributions, only changes in suitability.*McCallum K, Lowe AJ, Guerin, GR, Breed, M (in prep.) Anintegrated approach to evaluating species vulnerability andconservation strategies in a changing climate. [final draft]
Future Land Use Planning Conflicts under climate change?• Areas identified for environmental refugia have also been earmarked for other uses such as horticultureHouston P & Rowland J, 2008, Room to move. Towards astrategy to assist the Adelaide Hills apple industry adaptto climate change in a contested peri-urbanenvironment, DWLBC Report 2008/20http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Knowledge_Bank/Science_research/Changing_climate/Regional_Climate_Change_Decision_Framework
How to translate these results to NRM policy and Planning?• These results need to be integrated with other climate change research and related studies, as climate change is just one of many stressors that impacts a landscape’s biodiversity eg weeds, fire, habitat fragmentation• However, even this combined information will still only inform the implementation of nature conservation in a landscape.
• In order to successfully implement nature conservation, information must be translated into explicit goals, targets and milestones, and subsequently into on- ground activity.• Eg, modelling tends to produce a prediction about the status and trajectory of an environmental asset that could be tested through implementation of actions on- ground (adaptive management approach)
• TREND has made good inroads but more work needed for results to be applied to real world policy and management issues.• Important for researchers to continue engaging with NRM planners (and vice versa) to assist with this process and to understand each others competing issues eg funding cycles, timing of plan reviews, legislation and community aspirations.• Government based scientists can facilitate this interaction as they often work with all of the specialist groups. Dedicated resources and skills development required to develop this science/policy interface.• Specialist policy translation roles required in future projects?
• Other opportunities to engage with NRM planning through NRM plan reviews and implementation processes.• Also, new initiatives such as Commonwealth investment in adaptation plans, through programs such as the Biodiversity and Regional Natural Resource Management Planning for Climate Change Funds.• Important to keep strengthening relationships between science, policy makers and resource managers to ensure science is fit for purpose and delivers to NRM managers.