Cyclone damage of reefClimate change is having mixed — but mostly negative — impacts on ecosystem services, according to data analysed by a new CEED-University of Queensland led study.

Lead author Rebecca Runting, of UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said the research brought together the findings of over 100 other studies.

The papers were published between 2003 and 2014, although most (78 per cent) were published after 2011, which reflects growing research interest in this area.

“We found that 59 per cent of reported impacts of climate change on ecosystem services were negative, while just 13 per cent were positive,” she said.

Ms Runting said the method of research was shown to strongly influence whether impacts were reported as positive or negative, with expert opinion studies far more negative than other types of studies.

The research was recently featured by the ‘Science for Environment Policy’ project of the European Commission

Source: Runting, R.K., Bryan, B.A., Dee, L.E., Maseyk, F.J.F., Mandle, L., Hamel, P., Wilson, K.A., Yetka, K., Possingham, H.P. & Rhodes, J.R. (2016). Incorporating climate change into ecosystem service assessments and decisions: a review. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13457.

Image: Damage to Beaver Reef (on the Great Barrier Reef) after Cyclone Hamish in 2009. The Great Barrier Reef provides many ecosystem services and is under threat from extreme weather and bleaching events that are related to climate change. (Photo by AIMS Long-term Monitoring Team)