Climate Change Case Study: Kosciuszko National Park in Australia

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Climate Change 200

Global climate change is possibly one of the most significant environmental issues facing our society. It has been recognised as a global concern by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2002 Global Ecology and Biogeography). A case study of the Kosciuszko national park in Austrailia demonstrates the effects climate change can have on a protected area. The alpine zone around Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko is of high scenic, scientific, education and natural conservation significance (crctourism). In alpine Australia, some of the effects of climate change are already evident and park managers have come to terms with increased threats from large-scale fires and noticeable reductions in annual snow depth and cover (Wyborn, 2009). This concerning issue is due to the rise in temperature which has directly affected both the alpine species and snow levels in this area. Research suggests that a temperature rise of only 10 degrees would threaten a number of alpine species currently living at the upper limit of their temperature range. (environment &Heritage 2011) . The predicted worst case scenario by 2050 could see a loss of total loss of 30-95% of snow and the possible loss of the alpine ecosystems (Environment &Heritage 2011). Although temperature and climate change are considered by many tourists to be significant factors influencing whether they visit parks (Pongkijvorasin and Chotiyaputta 2013), any advances in combating climate change requires commitment and cooperation between governments and political leaders worldwide. However, the New South Wales Park System (NPWS) is contributing through research, monitoring, community education and through enacting ‘climate care’ policies within the Kosciuszko park. The CRC sustainable tourism report (****) reveals that tourism has a range of negative environmental pressures on the alpine area, table 4 below demonstrates these issues:

The overall aim with regard to...
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