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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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One such solution might be to use the more plentiful water resources of the north to support other parts of the country (see paper by David Bowman, this volume). Climate change in an Earth System context To fully understand the potential impacts of climate change, it is necessary to put the whole phenomenon of anthropogenic climate change in an Earth System context. The best evidence that the Earth behaves as a single, inter-connected system comes the Vostok ice core record from Antarctica (Figure 5). These data go back to nearly a half million years before present and show how the global environment has varied in terms of climate (temperature) and composition of the atmosphere (in terms of two important greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane). The Vostok ice core record shows several features that are characteristic of complex system behaviour: The main maxima and minima of temperature and trace gas concentrations, which mark the alternation between the glacial and interglacial states, follow a regular, cyclical pattern through time, each cycle spanning approximately 100,000 years. The smooth changes in the eccentricity of the Earths orbit, which vary the distribution of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface, act as the pacemaker for the observed periodicity but internal processes within the Earth System drive most of the changes in climate and atmospheric composition. The variation of climate, as represented by a proxy for local temperature (18O), and of atmospheric composition, as represented by the concentration of the trace gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), are closely coupled throughout the record. The range over which temperature and trace gas concentrations vary is tightly limited. Throughout all four cycles shown in the Vostok record, each interglacial gives rise to similar peak values; each glacial culminates in comparable minima. Figure 5: The 420,000-year Vostok (Antarctica) ice core record, showing the regular pattern of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 concentration and inferred temperature through four glacial-interglacial cycles (adapted from Petit et al. 1999). Source: Springer-Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg 2005 The Vostok record provides the long-term envelope of natural variability against which the humandriven changes to the global environment can be measured. For example, it is often noted that the emission of CO2 by human activities, largely due to the combustion of fossil fuels, has led to a 30% increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, a comparison of the contemporary increase in CO2 to the Vostok record gives a more accurate picture of the nature of the increase (Figure 6). Human driven changes to atmospheric CO2 concentration have pushed it well outside the bounds of glacial-interglacial cycling; the current CO2 concentration has effectively doubled the normal operating range of the gas, and the human-driven increase has occurred at least 10 times faster than any change associated with natural variability. Prepare for Impact!Drivers of Change 29

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