Research outputs

Planned, draft and published outputs include:

  1. Climate change impacts and adaptation in the Southern & Southwestern Flatlands cluster: a review of existing knowledge.
  2. Planning tools in natural resource management and conservation planning.
  3. Southern and Southwestern Flatlands cluster: data layers explained.
  4. Incorporating climate change into recovery plans for threatened vertebrate species in southwestern Australia.
  5. Vegetation community responses to climate change in the Australian Mediterranean ecosystem.
  6. Adapting to climate change: shifting opportunities for the sandalwood plantation industry.
  7. Climate ready revegetation: planting the right species in the right places.
  8. Incorporating climate change into vulnerability analysis of riparian and aquatic species exposed to multiple threats.
  9. Projections of individual species distributions under three emission scenarios for two future time-frames.
  10. Projections of climate refugia under three emission scenarios for two future time-frames.

Links to published outputs are provided under RELATED RESOURCES.

Related resources

About Southern and South Western Flatlands

The Southern and southwestern Flatlands cluster covers approximately 754,000 km2 and includes two geographically distinct regions, the Southern and South Western Flatlands West (SSWFW) sub-cluster located in Western Australia, and the Southern and South Western Flatlands East (SSWFE) sub-cluster located in South Australia. Together these two sub-clusters incorporate nine NRM regions: South Coast, South West, Perth, Wheatbelt and Northern Agricultural in the SSWFW sub-cluster, and Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, and Northern and Yorke in the SSWFE sub-cluster. Both sub-clusters have extensive coastlines. The SSWFW sub-cluster coincides with a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot, defined by high levels of plant diversity and endemism, coupled with significant landscape modification. Orographic features of note in this cluster include the Stirling and Porongurup Ranges, Darling Scarp and Mt Lofty Ranges. Most of this region is characterised by a Mediterranean-type climate, with warm, dry summers and cooler, wetter winters.

Map of the cluster showing that it covers two separate areas, separated by the Nularbor Plain, encompassing south-west Western Australia and much of the coastal area of South Australia.

Download map (4.7 MB)

Photograph of turquise waters lapping heath covered low rocky hills.

Key Messages & Issues

The Flatlands cluster encompasses one of the five Mediterranean ecosystems that occur globally. These five areas support 20% of the Earth’s known vascular plant diversity. High levels of conversion for agriculture, development and other human uses have resulted in these areas being considered a global conservation priority. Increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall associated with future climate change is expected to further threaten biodiversity in the Australian Mediterranean ecosystem. The NRM regions across the cluster are working with researchers to identify how threats to biodiversity and agriculture from climate change can be mitigated.

Background to Research

This project consists of four sub-projects:

  1. Review and synthesis of existing information
  2. Preparation of spatial data layers based on existing studies
  3. New bioclimatic modelling
  4. Ongoing support for planning using spatial data 

The project commenced with workshops in Perth and Adelaide in 2013 aimed at identifying data priorities of the NRM regional organisations in the cluster and clarifying which planning tools would be used by the NRM regions to incorporate climate change into NRM planning. On-going consultation following these workshops led to the identification of key biodiversity and agriculture data needs that included threatened species and their habitats, key and/or iconic flora species, key vegetation habitat types, linkages and corridors and fire.