Citizen science is booming in Australia, revealing previously unknown features of the continent and saving governments a ton of money.
“There’s a nationwide trend towards scientific reporting by skilled amateur observers, especially among young Australians,” says Professor Hugh Possingham, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED).
“For the first time we are starting to build up a truly extensive picture of the state of the Australian environment – and are able to watch how it changes over time.”
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The Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires re-emphasised the need to manage Victorian landscapes to protect life and property, while maintaining biodiversity.
A key part of this process is evaluating the appropriateness of fuel reduction burning, or wildfire for Victorian landscapes, using tolerable fire intervals and plant attributes. These tools draw on expert knowledge of the reproductive lifespan of various species to identify which fire regimes sustain the majority of species. Data underlying the tools is scarce.
Miss Freya Thomas is developing methods to incorporate plant traits into multi-species models of plant growth and reproduction in order to predict demographic rates for plant species. This research can support fire management decisions. Miss Thomas will visit universities and training institutes in South Africa, Ireland, Spain, France and the USA.
The Victoria Fellowship enables researchers in the early stages of their careers to undertake international study missions.
Read more about the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation and Victoria Fellowships
Among the most haunting and evocative images of Australian wildlife are the black and white photographs of the last Thylacine, languishing alone in Hobart Zoo. It's an extraordinary reminder of how close we came to preventing an extinction.
That loss is also an important lesson on the consequences of acting too slowly. Hobart Zoo's Tasmanian tiger died just two months after the species was finally given protected status.
Last year, we wrote about the last-known Christmas Island Forest Skink, an otherwise unremarkable individual affectionately known as Gump. Although probably unaware of her status, Gump was in a forlorn limbo, hoping to survive long enough to meet a mate and save her species. It was an increasingly unlikely hope. READ MORE
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Two Positions Available)
Highly motivated Postdoctoral Research Fellows are invited to apply for a position within CEED at The University of Queensland.
The successful applicants will work on projects in the areas of: multispecies management, restoration ecology, ecosystem services, threatened species and conservation action prioritisation, adaptive management and monitoring, decision-making in socio-ecological systems, or other emerging priority areas of research. Applications close 02 Nov 2014...read more
It's graduation time at UQ this week, and cause for CEED to celebrate! Azusa Makino graduated her PhD, and Carla Archibald and Laurel Osborne have graduated with Honours. Congratulations!
Right: Carla and Laurel with supervisor Hugh.
National parks are usually created on land that is too poor for agriculture and protect only 11% of endangered species. But researchers have found how we can do a better job without breaking the bank. Read more...
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Protecting the forest homes of orangutans is the most cost‐effective way of boosting the great
apes’ chances of survival in the long‐run, international scientists have found.
New research at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) has
established the best strategies for maintaining orangutan populations for more than 20 years
on a limited budget.
In the study, the researchers analysed which strategy or combination of strategies, and under
what conditions, is the most cost‐effective at maintaining wild orangutan populations.
“Money is limited in conservation, and it is important to know how best to spend it,” says Dr
Howard Wilson of CEED and UQ. “We found that the choice between habitat protection and
rehabilitation depends on the cost of rehabilitation per orangutan and the rate of
“If we want to maintain orangutan populations for less than 20 years, then reintroduction is
best,” says Dr Wilson. “But if we’re aiming for long‐term species conservation, protecting their
habitat is by far the best strategy.
FULL RELEASE HERE
Photo by Daniel Murdiyarso
Once confined behind pet shop windows, the smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) – a ‘controlled pest animal’ in Victoria – has made a new home in Melbourne’s peri urban fringe.
“Some of the sites where we have detected newts are quite far apart, so we suspect that the species has spread considerably, and has established itself in more areas than our study has revealed,” says Dr Reid Tingley of CEED and The University of Melbourne.
FULL RELEASE HERE