Hotter and drier conditions from runaway climate change will push endangered wildlife and ecosystems in the Canowindra region closer to extinction, a new report has found.
The Nature Conservation Council (NCC) report titled “Hot, dry, and deadly: Impacts of climate change on nature in NSW”, also found farm productivity would fall up to 13% in some sectors if emissions were not slashed.
NCC Campaigns Director Daisy Barham said the region will become hotter and drier, making conditions tougher for native wildlife and dramatically changing some ecosystems.
“Rainfall and temperature changes will alter many elements of the region’s ecology, including flowering times for eucalypts and other plants, the migration pattern of birds, and the frequency and intensity of bushfires,” she said.
“Canowindra had only 5m of rainfall in June this year, which is 90% less than average.
“Extremes like these are a taste of what Canowindra and the whole of the Central West can expect if we don’t urgently slash climate pollution.
“The CSIRO warns that on current trends, Central West temperatures will increase up to 4.2°C and rainfall could decline a staggering 47%.”
Rainfall has been well down in other Central West regions, too. Bathurst received 1.2mm, 97% less than average; and Dubbo received 9mm, 83% down on the average.
Ms Barham said the growth and sustainability of a number of flora and fauna could potentially be impacted.
“Forests, woodlands, grasslands, rivers, wetlands, and farms in the district will deteriorate because of of hotter, drier conditions under global warming,” she said.
“Many species and ecosystems in the district, including grassy box woodlands, will decline further if we don’t act to curb climate change. These woodlands have tree-hollows that host a huge variety of birds, possums and gliders.
“Warmer, drier conditions will lead to hotter, more frequent fires that will remove tree hollows vital as nests for these animals. Without nests, these species will quickly decline.”
She said a commitment to solar power was needed from the NSW Government.
“We call on Premier Berejiklian to commit to sourcing our electricity from the sun and wind to act on climate change.”
The report was launched in Bathurst on Wednesday, July 19.