The first step in the process involved identifying the assets that are most vulnerable to climate change. A vulnerability and spatial impact assessment was completed to inform NRM planning for climate change.
The assessment was completed for multiple natural asset classes and values and included the use of available data on the characteristics, values and condition of the assets. The assets considered in the assessment were consistent with those used in the RCS process and included native vegetation, rivers and streams, wetlands, estuaries, coasts and soils. The assessment incorporated multiple projections of future climate over different time frames and considered the potential climate change impact and vulnerability.
Figure 1: Vulnerability assessment results: Soils (RCP 8.5 2050) Figure 2: Vulnerability assessment results: Native Vegetation (RCP 8.5 2050)
The direct impacts from climate change should not be viewed in isolation but may act synergistically when combined with other current or emerging threats to the values of assets. The effects of fire; flood; habitat loss and change in land-use / land management practices; invasive animals; pests and diseases; as well as altered water regimes on these assets, may intensify or be reduced under climate change (NCCARF, 2013).
A review of the threat levels for assets identified in the East Gippsland RCS in light of projected climate change impacts was completed to help inform the Plan. The threat assessment framework identified that climate change is likely to have the highest combined impact on the threats from erosion, fire, altered flow regime, degraded water quality and degraded native vegetation. Together with the results of vulnerability assessment and consultation with regional stakeholders, this threat assessment helped to identify locations and options for climate change adaptation and mitigation in the region.