Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in south african national parks
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Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in South African national parks. Nicola J. van Wilgen, Victoria Goodall, Stephen Holness, Steven L. Chown & Melodie A. McGeoch.

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Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in South African national parks

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Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in south african national parks

Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in South African national parks

Nicola J. van Wilgen, Victoria Goodall, Stephen Holness, Steven L. Chown& Melodie A. McGeoch

Ferreira S., Foxcroft L., Govender D., Hofmeyr M., Holness S., Roux D., Barendse J., Bezuidenhout H., Bradshaw P., Daemane E., de Klerk-Lorist L., Dopolo M., Freitag-Ronaldson S., Nel J., Russell I., Spear D., van Helden P., van Niekerk L., Vermeulen W., Zimmerman D., Bengis L., Cowell C., Ernst Y., Gaylard A., Greaver C., Herbst M., Lane E., Michel A., Oosthuizen A., Sink K., Solano-Fernandez S., van Niekerk L. & Wassenaar T.


Why is it important to assess gec in pas

Why is it important to assess GEC in PAs?

Protected Areas (PAs) are the world’s premier conservation strategy

“Moreover, protected areas are key to buffering unpredictable impacts of impending climate change.” – CBD

BUT can we be sure that PAs will be immune to climate change and related environmental stressors? Biodiversity losses as a result of a several global change drivers has been observed within PAs (Gaston 2008)

SANParks, with a core biodiversity protection mandate, needs to understand the threat posed by Global Environmental Change (GEC) drivers and the degree to which these drivers might compromise the ability to achieve this mandate


Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in south african national parks

Global Environmental Change in SANParks

Broad project objective:

To conduct a quantitative assessment

of the current and projected impacts

of GEC on Parks,

and to use this as a basis for

providing policy directives and

management recommendations

Focus on six change drivers

Alien species *

Climate change *

Disease

Change in Freshwater Systems

Habitat change

Resource use (Overharvesting) *


Rationale for cc sub project

Rationale for CC sub-project

  • Time and space required for species to respond to change (Parmesan and Yohe 2003, Parmesan 2006, Heard et al. 2012)

  • Placing PAs in the correct placesis essential to achieve habitat protection, biodiversity representation and provide climate change adaptation corridors and refuges

  • It’s really important to know what’s happening at local scales

    • Important to consider past/current trends because future predictions are broad in scale and vary quite dramatically depending on scenario

    • Local knowledge is needed to support management

      • Important for park expansion and zonation and decisions regarding species reintroduction or culling

  • Objective: assess evidence of existing climate change (magnitude, direction and spatial variability) in national parks


Assessment of past trends

Assessment of past trends

  • Weather data obtained from SAWS for 64 stations across SA in / adjacent to national parks

  • Data checked and cleaned, longest and best series chosen per park

  • Calculated monthly and annual means, minima and maxima in R

    • Trend analysis: Linear and LOWESS

    • Repeated trend analysis using an R module RClimDex

    • Extreme events identified per month and annually

    • Trends in rainfall seasonality (not discussed)


Basic information per park longest series

Basic information per park (longest series)


Rainfall patterns

Rainfall patterns


Rainfall patterns1

Rainfall patterns


Annual trends rainfall

Annual trends: Rainfall

Trends influenced by years with above/ below average rainfall

Length of available time series played a large role in whether significant differences were found or not

van Wilgen et al. in preparation


Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in south african national parks

Significant annual trends: Rainfall

Rates of change

Sig. decrease

Sig. increase

No data for Camdeboo & Karoo


Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in south african national parks

Mokala rainfall

van Wilgen et al. in preparation


Extreme events rainfall

Extreme Events: Rainfall

Agulhas

Table Mountain: Cape Point

Number of extreme high rainfall months

(1.5 x average wettest month)

Kruger: Skukuza

Photo: Monique McQuillan


Extreme events rainfall1

Extreme Events: Rainfall

AddoElephant: Alexanderbos

Garden Route: Bloukrans

Occurrence of extreme wet years

(1.2 x average annual rainfall)

Kruger: Skukuza

Photo: Monique McQuillan


Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in south african national parks

Rainfall variation

van Wilgen et al. in preparation


Annual trends temperature

Annual trends: Temperature

van Wilgen et al. in preparation


Significant annual changes temperature

Significant annual changes: Temperature

Rates of temperature change where + and significant

No data for Bontebok, Camdeboo & Marakele


Impacts and trends in climate change and other drivers in south african national parks

LOWESS trends in annual temperature

LOWESS = locally-weighted polynomial regression (reduces the influence of extreme events and allows the gradient of the trend line to vary over time (Cleveland 1979, Cleveland 1981)


Temperature trends by month tmnp

Temperature trends by month: TMNP

Mar

Mar

Significant changes in GREEN

van Wilgen et al. in preparation


Extreme events temperature

Extreme Events: Temperature

Photo: Ruth-Mary Fisher

Extremes calculated as top & bottom 2.5% of normalized values:

Warm: top 2.5% of minimum temperatures

Cold: Bottom 2.5% of minimum temperatures

Hot: Top 2.5% of maximum temperatures

Cool: Bottom 2.5% of maximum temperatures


Extreme events temperature1

Extreme Events: Temperature

Photo: Ruth-Mary Fisher

Most extreme increase: 36 days over 50 years!


Future climate change

Future climate change

  • Study conducted by:

    Stephen Holness, Peter Bradshaw, Guy Midgley, Emma Archer, Barend Erasmus, Danni Guo

  • Three future scenarios were developed based on current data (1960-1999) using the 15 best GCM models available

    • Predictions were made for the medium term (for 2050) under each of these scenarios


Driver impact per park

Driver impact per park


Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

  • South African Weather Service for providing data

  • Ulrike Irlich for formatting original data

  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the SANParks Park Development Fund for funding

Thank you!

Ferreira S., Foxcroft L., Govender D., Hofmeyr M., Holness S., Roux D., Barendse J., Bezuidenhout H., Bradshaw P., Daemane E., de Klerk-Lorist L., Dopolo M., Freitag-Ronaldson S., Nel J., Russell I., Spear D., van Helden P., van Niekerk L., Vermeulen W., Zimmerman D., Bengis L., Cowell C., Ernst Y., Gaylard A., Greaver C., Herbst M., Lane E., Michel A., Oosthuizen A., Sink K., Solano-Fernandez S., van Niekerk L. & Wassenaar T.


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