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Urban biodiversity resilience

By contrast with many other countries, Western Australia is relatively early in its development and retains considerable biological diversity assets. Significant urban, industrial, resources and agricultural development has only taken place in Western Australia over the last 150 years. A major challenge confronting policy makers, industry leaders and land managers is to find strategies for the optimal management of biodiversity that are compatible with the ongoing imperative for the State’s development. There are few places where these issues are more pressing than our urban landscapes.

A diverse set of stakeholders and land managers with an equally diverse set of interests, motivations and constraints can make it difficult to achieve outcomes that balance outcomes across social, economic and environmental domains. Each of these interest groups is working within their given remit, often with a focus on asset management rather than an integrated view across all aspects of the urban landscape.

These challenges, however, also come with opportunities. A broad group of stakeholders gives access to greater resources, knowledge and expertise to identify, prioritise and execute best practice land management.  What is needed now is improved oversight on the issue of urban biodiversity so that an integrated approach can be implemented with a clearer focus on collaborative opportunities and achieving multiple benefits for the limited resources available.

It is in this light that WABSI has recognised the value of developing an initiative around urban biodiversity resilience.  Within this focus, we are proposing to connect stakeholders, identify and prioritise end user requirements and shared knowledge gaps, and facilitate addressing these knowledge gaps through targeted and coordinated research.  Consultation undertaken so far and review of existing policy and research literature suggest that these needs can be grouped into two programs of work within the Perth urban environment:

  • Ecosystem restoration: supporting the successful restoration of key remnant ecological communities and conservation of priority native species
  • Green infrastructure and urban forests: optimising ecosystem services and biodiversity values for urban landscapes and green infrastructure development

Developing this initiative has recently commenced; gathering knowledge and framing an initiative is the current priority.  We encourage stake holders, end users and the research community engaged on urban biodiversity issues to share and discuss their high level initiatives, management challenges and knowledge gaps relating to urban biodiversity resilience to help to inform the scope and next stages of stakeholder engagement as we progress this initiative towards the development of WABSI supported Research Programs.

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