Hakea victoria, Fitzgerald River National Park

Hakea victoria, Fitzgerald River National Park / photo by Meg Hele

Ecosystem Processes and Threat Mitigation

Biodiversity management must embrace the challenge of understanding complex living systems that exhibit dynamic, adaptive and cyclical patterns associated with the impact of a wide range of processes.

These processes may be natural  such as fire, climate, nutrient cycling, pollination, predation and water cycling; or driven by recent human-induced changes such as the introduction of new and exotic species; diseases such as Phytophthora, altered water flows, and land disturbance and habitat fragmentation associated with human settlement, agriculture and resource development.

Optimising prioritisation and allocation of the limited resources that can be devoted to biodiversity conservation in a dynamic environment is complex and requires a systems-based view.

Objectives

Through collaboration, build the capacity of conservation managers to use cost-effective strategies so they can:

  • Prioritise the management of threats to species and communities of conservation concern.
  • Develop effective management strategies that integrate responses to the suite of processes and threats facing different communities.

 

View the WABSI Research Plan

 

Research focus

Through collaborative research, enable decision makers to prioritise conservation efforts through:

  • Identification of key threats to the persistence of native species and communities.
  • Risk assessment and prioritisation, including tools for ranking of management actions based on risk likelihood, impact and reversibility.
  • Prioritisation of existing and potential new conservation areas, including a capacity to identify habitats that biota retreat to, during times of stress.
  • Offset and policy responses to changes in biodiversity due to changes in land-use.
  • Tools for regional and landscape assessment and planning, including threat minimisation and mitigation.

Improve strategic decision-making and management through:

  • Guidelines for identifying and managing climate resilient ecological communities and for facilitating species and community migration in step with longer-term climatic changes.
  • Fire management guidelines, incorporating management of fuel loads, re-introduction of Aboriginal burning practices and responsiveness to longer-term climatic change.
  • Approaches to managing species and communities in fragmented landscapes, including determining population viability and thresholds for loss.
  • New techniques for tracking and controlling feral animals, including cost effective culling, baiting and biological control.
  • Tools for managing soil chemistry and understanding critical aspects of soil biology.
  • Land use planning for existing and new uses such as irrigated agriculture.
  • Thresholds for assessing grazing pressure in arid systems.