Species Attributes And Climatic Tolerance

Species Attributes And Climatic Tolerance

The first module will focus on fifty plant species identified in the project’s Target Species List, and will develop maps that demonstrate each species’ suitability to both current and future climates across Australia.

  • Commencing: January 2017
  • Completion: December 2021

Which Species Will Be Able to Cope With Climate Change, Where?

The first module will focus on fifty plant species identified in the project’s Target Species List, and will develop maps that demonstrate each species’ suitability to both current and future climates across Australia.

These maps will be used to demonstrate how well or poorly a particular species will be able to tolerate future conditions in urban centres across Australia as the climate changes, based on our current understanding of species’ climatic requirements.

Our research might demonstrate, for example, that a particular species of tree is already at the very limit of its ability to cope with heat, and that the only suitable place to plant this species in the future will be in cool-climate or more temperate locations. This kind of information would be very useful to a council seeking to avoid investing in tree species for street planting that are unlikely to cope with higher temperatures.

We will also use information from national herbaria and other sources to quantify each species’ climatic limits - the warmest, coldest, driest or wettest conditions they can cope with. This information will then be tested through the Planting Successes and Failures module of the research programme to ensure that the Interactive Plant Features Tool matches the right plant in the right region with an eye on the future.

We will also be working with growers, nurseries, landscape architects and many others to capture their recordings of major plant traits including:

  • growth rate and form
  • height
  • canopy density
  • ground cover
  • longevity
  • seasonality
  • water quality
  • allergenicity
  • air and water quality influences and urban temperatures
  • insect resistance
  • ornamental and amenity features
  • and biodiversity impacts.