Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

An integrated risk-assessment framework for multiple threats to floodplain values in the Kakadu Region, Australia, under a changing climate

P. Bayliss A K , C. M. Finlayson B , J. Innes A , A. Norman-López C , R. Bartolo D , A. Harford D , N. E. Pettit E J , C. L. Humphrey D , R. van Dam D , L. X. C. Dutra A , E. Woodward F , E. Ligtermoet G , A. Steven A , A. Chariton A H and D. K. Williams I
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Business Unit, Queensland BioSciences Precinct, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.

B Institute for Land, Water & Society, Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW, Australia.

C European Commission, DG JRC.C.6. Economics of Climate Change, Energy and Transport Unit, Edificio Expo, Calle Inca Garcilaso 3, E-41092 Seville, Spain.

D Supervising Scientist Branch, Department of the Environment and Energy, GPO Box 461, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia.

E Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management, The University of Western Australia, Albany, WA 6330, Australia.

F CSIRO Land and Water Business, Underwood Avenue, Floreat, WA 6014, Australia

G The Australian National University (ANU), Fenner School, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

H The Environmental Genomics, Ecology and Ecotoxicology Lab (EGEEL), Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2198, Australia.

I AIMS ATRF Darwin, PO Box 41775, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia.

J Present address: School of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA 6027, Australia.

K Corresponding author. Email: peter.bayliss@csiro.au

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF17043
Submitted: 8 February 2017  Accepted: 11 September 2017   Published online: 31 October 2017

Abstract

The internationally important river–floodplains of the Kakadu Region in northern Australia are at risk from invasive species and future sea-level rise–saltwater inundation (SLR–SWI), requiring assessments of multiple cumulative risks over different time frames. An integrated risk-assessment framework was developed to assess threats from feral animals and aquatic weeds at three SLR-scenario time frames (present-day, 2070 and 2100) to natural (magpie goose habitats), cultural (indigenous hunting–fishing sites) and economic (tourism revenue less invasive species control costs) values. Probability density functions (pdfs) were fitted to spatial data to characterise values and threats, and combined with Monte Carlo simulation and sensitivity analyses to account for uncertainties. All risks were integrated in a Bayesian belief network to undertake ‘what if’ management-scenario analyses, and incorporated known ecological interactions and uncertainties. Coastal landscapes and socio-ecological systems in the region will be very different by 2100 as a result of SLR; freshwater ecosystems will transform to marine-dominated ecosystems and cannot be managed back to analogue conditions. In this context, future invasive-species risks will decrease, reflecting substantial loss of freshwater habitats previously at risk and a reduction in the extent of invasive species, highlighting the importance of freshwater refugia for the survival of iconic species.

Additional keywords: adaptive management, bioeconomic, climate change, decadal, feedback, Kakadu National Park, Ramsar, socio-ecological systems, threshold, Traditional Owners.


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