Help for Australia’s stressed ecosystems
21 February 2012
The Australian Academy of Science today launched an Australian Academy of Science initiative to better manage Australia’s stressed ecosystems, and announced a national working group to implement its recommendations.
Launched in Melbourne this morning by the Hon. John Brumby, Stressed Ecosystems: Better decisions for Australia’s future is the work of around 60 early and mid-career scientists and social scientists brought together from across disciplines and around Australia for a Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank in Brisbane late last year.
Think Tank co-convenor Professor Mark Burgman said the document’s recommendations are already on their way to being implemented.
“State, territory and federal governments have each nominated a representative to work with scientists on the implementation committee whose focus is to improve the management of Australia’s natural environment,” Professor Burgman said.
“This approach brings communities, governments and other stakeholders together with scientists who can develop models to predict potential outcomes of particular actions.
“Modelling the consequences of those actions will enable more informed and hopefully better decision-making.”
The Think Tank participants examined four ecosystems: Queensland’s Bowen and Surat Basins, the Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia, Melbourne’s peri-urban grasslands and the Murray-Darling Basin.
“Each of these ecosystems is subject to competing needs and stresses, such as environmental, mining or tourism industry, urban expansion, recreation and community,” Professor Burgman said.
“Using these specific ecosystems as modelling examples we have developed a way to ensure that each competing interest or voice is heard and integrated into a model for managing the ecosystem in a sustainable way.”
The major recommendations of the report are:
- Collect more data on Australia’s ecosystems and make it freely available
- Engage the community in data collection
- Develop methods to determine the consequences of ecosystem decisions and make these accessible to all stakeholders
- Involve all stakeholders in ecosystem planning and decision making
Stressed Ecosystems: Better decisions for Australia’s future is available here
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