A 4WD going through the Katjarra Birriliburu IPA

Katjarra Birriliburu IPA / photo by Kirsty Quinlan

Restoration and ex-situ Conservation

Objectives

Develop and facilitate the adoption of cost effective and scalable strategies as well as tools for the restoration and reconstruction of W.A. ecosystems and the re-introduction of threatened plants and animals.

Driven by end-user outcomes

  • Understand the science required to define appropriate criteria for restoration success.
  • Frameworks that help identify and set standards for restoration, including closure restoration.
  • Proven, low-cost and scalable technologies to restore ecological communities and translocate plants and animals.
  • Capacity to measure and monitor restoration and translocation success.
  • Capacity to house, store, breed and release (translocate) a representative range of W.A.’s plant and animal species.

 

View the WABSI Research Plan

 

Research focus

Define criteria for restoration success

Restoring sustainable, native ecological communities requires an understanding of the composition of the community and the environmental conditions such as soil health, under which the community can be successfully restored.

We aim to help set restoration targets via two approaches:

  • Evaluate conditions of the restoration site and select target species and communities that suit the conditions.
  • Identify, design and construct a restoration environment that provides the attributes required to support the target species or community.

Restoration technologies

There are significant restoration challenges such as the rehabilitation of mine sites, restoration of degraded areas in conservation parks, protection of remnant vegetation and the restoration of fundamental ecological functions (such as ground water balances). Contemporary restoration programs will need to restore biodiverse plant and animal communities, at a large scale across several ecosystems and potentially across thousands of hectares.

Scale and cost are key drivers of research priorities for restoration and there is a clear need to develop proven, cost effective and scalable restoration. Achieving this will require:

  • Research and technology development.
  • The integration of research areas to improve outcomes.

Criteria for the success of species re-introduction

Many W.A. native animal and plant populations are declining; captive breeding, translocation strategies and the management of threatening processes need to be improved to prevent extinction of certain WA animals. Many attempts have been made to undertake translocation of endangered species and it is likely that many others will be targeted in the future. Translocation of both plant and animal species is both expensive and difficult.

Our focus includes:

  • Assistance with the development of adequate meaningful and measurable criteria for species reintroduction success.

Reintroduction technologies

Translocations of rare and threatened species require additional focus on the management of endangered source populations. The ecosystem benefits of translocations also need to be explored. For example, many of the digging and burrowing mammals have declined or become locally extinct in W.A. and their return could facilitate the restoration of vegetation communities.

We want to achieve effective re-establishment of threatened species through several approaches, including:

  • Innovative techniques for captive breeding; sourcing and storage of plant propagules.
  • Understanding attributes for optimising plant survival.
  • Developing robust monitoring techniques.