Climate Change Implications for River Restoration in Global Biodiversity Hotspots

Davies, PM. 2010. Climate Change Implications for River Restoration in Global Biodiversity Hotspots. RESTORATION ECOLOGY 18 (3): 261-268.

The author presents a compelling case for using riparian revegetation as an "in-situ" solution for negative impacts of rising temperatures on stream fauna in southwestern Australia. They outline the many reasons why the usual climate change adaptations will not work in this case (can't migrate south due to the ocean, can't migrate to higher elevations due to low relief of the area, rivers mostly run east-west). The paper is concise, well-written, summarizes the issues surrounding climate change adaptation well and raises a lot of the issues restoration will encounter in the face of climate change (e.g. the way disturbances change may hinder restoration success). He makes a good case that the usual ideas of climate change mitigation won't work and restoration is therefore even more important. Here the interaction of climate change with restoration is that the way climate change affects this particular ecosystem (rising temperatures and nowhere to go) may help dictate the priorities of restoration (reduction in stream temperature). One weakness of the paper is that because he does such a good job of reviewing all the effects of climate change, he gets to his point about suggested restoration somewhat at the end of the paper. And of course all the attendant social issues are not mentioned at all here (what are the impacts of revegetation? Who decides which parts get revegetated? How does one create incentives to do this restoration?) but in such a short paper I think he's raised some great issues, summarized a lot of key information, and suggested a slightly different role restoration can play when the usual climate adaptation strategies won't work. Highly recommended.

Figure: from SouthWest Australian fauna have nowhere to go - ocean to the south, desert to the north, and not much elevation to play with.

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