Rain­for­est pock­ets a shel­ter for cli­mate change refugee species

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

SPECIES threat­ened by cli­mate change may seek refuge from the heat in small habi­tats within rain­forests. A study pub­lished yes­ter­day in Global Change Biology shows small habi­tats within rain­for­est veg­e­ta­tion should pro­vide relief from ex­treme tem­per­a­tures. Lead re­searcher Brett Sch­ef­fers from James Cook Univer­sity in Townsville said that while such habi­tats were small they pro­vide big re­turns for the species that use them. Buffered mi­cro­hab­i­tats can re­duce the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of an­i­mals to ex­treme events by over 100- fold. ‘‘ Th­ese mi­cro­hab­i­tats in­clude tree holes, logs, and plants within the rain­for­est strata and they pro­vide cooler tem­per­a­tures within them than the air around them,’’ Mr Sh­ef­fers said. ‘‘In some ways th­ese habi­tats are refuges for refugees. The refugees here are species that have to flee their nor­mal habi­tats be­cause the habi­tats are no longer liv­able.’’

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