In-situ habitat management

Virtually all habitat management involves manipulating microclimate.

Successful conservation will increasingly depend on our ability to help species cope with climate change. Much attention has been focused on accommodating or assisting range shifts, though habitat connectivity, translocating species and relocating protected area networks. Less attention has been given to the alternative strategy of helping species survive climate change through in situ management. Our research group has synthesised published evidence examining whether habitat management can be used to offset the adverse impacts on biodiversity of changes in temperature, water availability and sea‐level rise. We show that site-based management can be used to effectively assist species to withstand climate change. READ MORE about the potential to use habitat management to manipulate microclimate.

Effective in-situ habitat management

Temperature - Riparian shading

Climate changes will result in water temperatures in streams and rivers regularly exceeding tolerable ranges for economically important species of fish. Creating shaded areas along river banks reduces the number of days fish are exposed to lethal temperatures and ensures more optimal conditions for growth.

Temperature - Slope creation

Climate changes will result in local temperatures exceeding optimal conditions for many invertebrates and plants. Creating small slopes and banks ensures greater topographic heterogeneity. This is turn increases the range of microclimates available to plant and butterfly species, increasing the likelihood that suitable conditions exist.

Water availability - drainage control

Many areas are expected to experience drier conditions as the climate changes, with adverse effects on invertebrate prey species. Blocking and diverting ditches can increase water availability at target locations helping to increase prey abundance, with benefits for species at higher trophic levels.

Water availability - woody debris shelters

Reduced rainfall regimes, predicted in many regions, pose a serious threat to amphibians. The provision of natural and artificial shelters (e.g. logs, cover boards) has been shown to reduce desiccation, with benefits for amphibians, though sometimes the technique has limited effect.