Fraser will suffer in warmer world
THE impact of global warming could be just as devastating for Fraser Island as it would be for the Great Barrier Reef, according to the head of the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation.
John Sinclair said he held grave fears for the future of the island as erosion and damage to the island's ecosystem threatened.
One of his main concerns centred on the fact that Fraser Island, with its sand coastline, could face devastating erosion caused by an increase in storm frequency and intensity due to global warming.
"Fraser Island has one of the most erodable coastlines in the world," Mr Sinclair said.
He also feared that trees on the island, including scribbly gums, blackbutts, satinay and tallowwood trees could not endure a further increase in temperatures as they had already reached the highest point of their tolerance.
Mr Sinclair said the impact of losing those trees, which constituted about 50% of the forests on Fraser Island, due to climate change would have huge impacts for the island.
"The ecosystem would be transformed," he said.
"It's worse than the coral bleaching happening on the Great Barrier Reef."
Mr Sinclair said one of the most frightening changes he could see happening was that the famous sandblows on the island were being colonised by vegetation.
He said a study by an Israeli scientist, Noam Levin, had shown how wind patterns could be affected by global warming.
Mr Sinclair said losing the sand blows on the island would be devastating.
"They are one of the most exciting features on the island.
"I say that they are glaciers in reverse and just as glaciers are disappearing, sandblows are disappearing."
He said global warming had already affected the island, with Moon Point on the western side cut off by rising sea levels.
According to figures from the CSIRO on erosion along the coast, typically 10% of the coast was building up with sand, 70% was eroding and 20% was stable, Mr Sinclair said.
On an island made up of 99% sand, that could have a dramatic impact, he said.