Global Climate Change Digest: Main Page | Introduction | Archives | Calendar | Copy Policy | Abbreviations | Guide to Publishers

GCRIO Home ->arrow Library ->arrow Archives of the Global Climate Change Digest ->arrow December 1998 ->arrow NEWS... Ecological Effects Down Under Search

U.S. Global Change Research Information Office logo and link to home

Last Updated:
February 28, 2007

GCRIO Program Overview



Our extensive collection of documents.


Get Acrobat Reader

Privacy Policy

Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999


Ecological Effects Down Under

Item #d98dec39

On Dec. 21, the BBC News broadcast a story by Alex Kirby about two species of tree kangaroos and five of possums that are being threatened by climate change. These marsupials are temperate animals that have become isolated in the high misty mountains of the northern Australian tropics. They are among the remnants of a large marsupial population that used to inhabit the continent until a two-degree global warming occurred 5,000 to 3,500 years ago, causing a major wave of extinctions. Researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are concerned that current trends will eliminate the habitat of these tree kangaroos and possums. CSIRO researcher John Kanowski notes that the higher CO2 content of the atmosphere “makes the leaves on which these animals subsist tougher and less digestible.” Moreover, he says, “We think they need cool conditions, not only to keep their body temperatures down, but also to provide the dew they drink. If the cool, wet forest retreats, the animals have no choice but to go with it.” The loss of these species would have an important feedback on the rainforest ecosystem: “These animals have been part of the rainforest for millions of years. Along with insects, they perform an important task in ?mowing’ the forest. Take away the animals, and you may also start to lose the diversity of the trees.”

  • Guide to Publishers
  • Index of Abbreviations

  • Hosted by U.S. Global Change Research Information Office. Copyright by Center for Environmental Information, Inc. For more information contact U.S. Global Change Research Information Office, Suite 250, 1717 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: +1 202 223 6262. Fax: +1 202 223 3065. Email: Web: Webmaster:
    U.S. Climate Change Technology Program Intranet Logo and link to Home