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Prepare for Impact! When People and Environment Collide in the Tropics



Prepare for Impact! When People and Environment Collide in the Tropics

Other title

When people and environment collide in the tropics


Abdurohman, Rahman; Arnstrong, Rachel; Boggs, Guy; Bowman, David; Brook Barry; Bunn, Stuart; Campbell, Bruce; Cunningham, Anthony; Davies, Diane; Garnett, Stephen; Gerritsen, Rolf; Griffiths, Tony; Morrison, Joe; Yu, Peter; Wright, S. Joseph; Williams, Meryl; Tay, Simon; Steffe, Will; Stacey, Natasha; Srivastava, Leena; Sodhi, Navjot S; Sanchez-Azofeifa, Arturo; Resosudarmo, Budy P; Portillo-Quintero, Carlos; Nurdianto, Ditya Agung; Muller-Landau, Helene C


Stacey, Natasha E; Boggs, Guy S; Campbell, Bruce M.; Steffen, Will


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




South East Asia and tropical Australia are undergoing major changes, which are likely to intensify in the next decade. Booming economies in China and India, and potentially other countries, are likely to drive exponential increases in demands for natural resources. Climate change is likely to have severe impacts, ranging from those associated with changes in severity of cyclones, to those associated with sea level rise in shallow oceans. Land cover transformations, already a common feature in many parts, could well decimate biodiversity. Human disease outbreaks, which have already caused alarm and economic disruption, could remain a feature of the region. The challenges are immense; it is timely to reflect on transforming forces and our responses. In May 2006, an international symposium was held in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia, to discuss these very issues. This publication features papers by leading researchers and policy makers on the following themes:'Drivers of Change; 'Values & Livelihoods; 'What Are the Changes and Their Impacts? The editors of this book all have wide experience in this area. Dr Natasha Stacey is an anthropologist with expertise in natural resource management in the Asia-Pacific region. Dr Guy Boggs has focused his GIS and modelling research on the use of technologies for understanding changes in spatial patterns of vegetation distribution, erosion and runoff response. Prof Bruce Campbell works in the tropics on four continents from humid rainforests to dry woodlands and is focussed on achieving better outcomes for conservation and development and improving the well-being of people through natural resource management and use. Prof Will Steffen has research interests which span a broad range within the field of Earth System science.

Table of contents

Setting the scene -- Gerritsen : A resilient future for Northern Australia? People, economics and policy issues -- Resosudarmo : Setting the scene : driving forces of change in Southeast Asia -- Drivers of change -- Steffen : Climate change in the tropics -- Srivastava : Securing India's energy future : what does the world have to worry about? -- Tay : Trade and environment in Southeast Asia -- Williams : Food production systems and policy development in Southeast Asia -- Values and livelihoods -- Armstong et al : Indigenous land and sea management and sustainable business development in Northern Australia -- Garnett : Enterprise development by indigenous communities using natural resources : where do the benefits go? -- Campbell et al : Do local people and the environment collide? Who drives environmental change? -- What are the changes and their impacts? -- Cunningham : Culture, livelihoods and conservatism -- Sodhi and Brook : Biodiversity crisis in Southeast Asia -- Wright et al : The future of Southeast Asian forests and their species -- Bunn : Northern Australia -- all that water ... going to waste? -- Bowman : Time's up for Australia's last frontier.




0502 - Environmental Science and Management; Southeast Asia; Northern Australia; Natural Resource Management; Politics & Society

Publisher name

Charles Darwin University Press (CDU Press)

Place of publication



vi, 119 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.

File type



9780980665017; 980665019



Copyright owner

Charles Darwin University Press (CDU Press)



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2006). Surface temperatures in the ocean waters around Australia are also rising as a result of climate change, leading to impacts to be discussed later in the paper. Rainfall has changed across Australia over the past half-century, with a pronounced wetting trend in the northwest but a drying trend over the eastern third of the country. Also, the southwestern corner of Western Australia has become significantly drier. The relationship between these observed trends in rainfall and climate change is not clear, although there are hypotheses that connect the drying trend in eastern Australia with high sea surface temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific Ocean (Watkins 2005). In terms of the tropics of northern Australia, the effects of climate change on the coastal regions are especially important and are the focus of this paper. First, the projections of sea-level rise and their implications for the northern Australia coast are discussed. The intensely debated topic of tropical cyclones and climate change is then covered, followed by a discussion of the little-known but potentially important impact of changing ocean acidity on the marine biosphere. Sea-level rise The projections of the IPCC (2001) for sea-level rise give a range of 11 cm to 89 cm by the end of the century. The large range of potential change is due primarily to uncertainties in (i) the emissions of CO2 by human activities through the century, and (ii) the response of the climate system to changes in atmospheric composition. Historical observations, based on tide gauges and, more recently, satellite altimeters, shows a global mean sea-level rise of 195 mm from 1870 to 2004 (Church and White 2006, Figure 2). Recent decades have seen an acceleration of sea-level rise. From 1950 to 2000 the rate was 1.8 +/- 0.3 mm per year but since 1970 has risen to about 3.0 mm per year (White et al. 2005, Church and White 2006). Figure 2: Global mean sea level for January 1870 to December 2001. The monthly global average, the yearly average with a quadratic fit to the yearly values and the yearly averages from the satellite altimeter data superimposed and offset by 150 mm. The one (dark shading) and two (light shading) standard deviation error estimates are shown. Inset: Observational records of recent global mean sea level rise, showing the acceleration since the 1990s to the present (Church and White 2006). Thermal expansion of the ocean due to rising water temperature and the increase in runoff from melting glaciers and ice sheets are the two primary causes for the observed rise in sea level. From the 1950s to the 1990s thermal expansion of the oceans contributed about 0.4 mm per year to the overall rate (1.8 mm per year), while the contribution of this effect jumped to 1.8 mm per year after 1993, when the overall rate had climbed to 3.0 mm per year. These data show that a significant Prepare for Impact!Drivers of Change 24

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