Climate modelling to determine the impacts of Phytophthora cinnamomi under future climate scenarios

2013

Threat abatement project
FINAL REPORT, 11th September 2013
Dr John Scott (CSIRO), Dr Treena Burgess, Prof Giles Hardy (Murdoch University), Dr Chris Dunne (DPaW), Prof David Cahill (Deakin University)

Executive summary

Phytophthora cinnamomi is listed as a 'Key Threatening Process to Australia's Biodiversity' and has had considerable impact on many plant communities throughout much of Australia. However, how the distribution and impact of P. cinnamomi will change with future climate change is unknown. This study used existing datasets on P. cinnamomi distribution together with strategic soil surveys from regions outside the pathogen's known distribution range and used CLIMEX modeling to determine its likely distribution in 2070 based on the CSIRO-Mk3.0 global climate model. The modeling demonstrates that in the future, areas with previously unfavourable conditions, particularly at altitudes above 700 m may result in an increase in disease incidence, as these regions become warmer over time. In addition, in areas where rainfall is predicted to decrease, disease incidence is likely to decline. This is the most comprehensive study of P. cinnamomi distribution undertaken to date. The information will be useful to managers and policy makers involved in ensuring the spread and impact of P. cinnamomi is contained in the future.