Predicting the impact of climate change on Australia's most endangered snake, Hoplocephalus bungaroides

Trent D. Penman, David A. Pike, Jonathan K. Webb, Richard Shine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Aim To predict how the bioclimatic envelope of the broad-headed snake (BHS) (Hoplocephalus bungaroides) may be redistributed under future climate warming scenarios. Location South-eastern New South Wales, Australia. Methods We used 159 independent locations for the species and 35 climatic variables to model the bioclimatic envelope for the BHS using two modelling approaches - Bioclim and Maxent. Predictions were made under current climatic conditions and we also predicted the species distribution under low and high climate change scenarios for 2030 and 2070. Results Broad-headed snakes currently encompass their entire bioclimatic envelope. Both modelling approaches predict that suitable climate space for BHS will be lost to varying degrees under both climate warming scenarios, and under the worst case, only 14% of known snake populations may persist. Main conclusions Areas of higher elevation within the current range will be most important for persistence of this species because they will remain relatively moist and cool even under climate change and will match the current climate envelope. Conservation efforts should focus on areas where suitable climate space may persist under climate warming scenarios. Long-term monitoring programs should be established both in these areas and where populations are predicted to become extirpated, so that we can accurately determine changes in the distribution of this species throughout its range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalDiversity and Distributions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • bioclimatic envelope modelling
  • geographical distribution
  • range contraction


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