CANBERRA Australia will create a wildlife
corridor spanning the continent to allow animals and plants to
flee the effects of global warming, scientists said on Monday.
The 2,800-kilometer (1,740 mile) climate "spine," approved
by state and national governments, will link the country's
entire east coast, from the snow-capped Australian alps in the
south to the tropical north -- the distance from London to
"A lot of that forest and vegetation spine is already
there. But there are still blockages," David Lindenmayer, a
professor of conservation biology, told Reuters of the plan.
"The effects of climate change will likely to be less
severe in systems that have some resilience and that we haven't
gone in and buggered-up."
The creation of the corridor was agreed by state and
federal governments this year amid international warnings that
the country -- already the world's driest inhabited continent
-- is suffering from an accelerated Greenhouse effect.
Climate scientists have predicted temperatures rising by up
to 6.7 degrees Celsius (12 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2080 in the
country's vast outback interior. A 10-year drought is expected
to slash one percent from the A$940 billion ($803 billion)
The corridor, under discussion since the 1990s as the
argument in support of climate change strengthened, will link
national parks, state forests and government land. It will help
preserve scores of endangered species.
"We are talking a very long-term vision, a land use that
values keeping the eastern forests in place over past uses like
landclearing," said Graeme Worboys from the IUCN, the world
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology last year said climate
change was occurring so fast in Australia that cooler southern
towns were moving to the warmer north at the rate of 100
kilometers each year.
Lindenmayer, from the Australian National University, said
governments would need also to work with private landholders to
link the corridor through voluntary conservation agreements.
"Given only 10 percent of Australia's landscapes are going
to be in formal reserves, we are going to have to be far
cleverer about how we manage the country outside," he said.
But Michael Dunlop, from the country's top government
science organization, the CSIRO, said the corridor would not be
a silver bullet for conservation efforts, with the country
needing to do more to protect different types of climates.
"Connectivity is just one solution. Connectivity is not one
of my six big hits," he said.