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Posts from the ‘people and environment’ Category

Amphitheatre of Horrors

Skipping into the stunning Amphitheatre and then the family is Striding out after it's horrors revealed...

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So that was the Year of the Sheep…

What will the Year of the Monkey bring?

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Operation Bounceback taking a giant stride forward

For 23 years ‘Operation Bounceback’ has been fighting feral animals in the Flinders Ranges. Imagine seeking an annual budget for the same project 23 times! That takes vision, commitment, determination, quality and the support of about 10 different Ministers.

At the 20 year celebration, it was highlighted ‘SA Government, staff, volunteers, landholders and local communities work together to reverse some of the impacts of the last 150 years’, and by the logos on the report cover, the Australian Government is probably also a partner-organisation.

It is a classic example of a trusted partnership for conservation.

Controlling foxes has been a priority since 1993 and Grasswrens, Pythons and the Yellow-footed Rock-Wallaby are already benefiting.  The current fox-baiting effort covers 5,500 km2.

Twenty years of feral animal control has laid a platform for the reintroduction of long-lost species.  After an amazing Ecological Society of Australia conference I was lucky enough to get up to the Flinders Ranges and briefly check-out the reintroduction projects for the Western Quoll and Brushtail Possum…

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Feral Fun in the Cotter

So after spending all week working on biodiversity restoration – what does one do for the Australia Day long weekend? Make a concerted effort to control feral trout in the beautiful rivers of our region of course… Read more

Innovation and the ‘normal no’

there is a need to identify innovative models for ensuring protected area success; in other words, to encourage the wider community to take collective responsibility for protected areas’ (in the pre-eminent “Nature” this week – Watson et al 2014).

Presumably the publication of this article is designed to coincide with the World Parks Congress in Sydney. See the full passage copied in the image on the right.Nature Article Excerpt

This gold-plated publication has reinforced and confirmed my observations of, and concerns regarding, the institutional arrangements responsible for biodiversity conservation over the last 20 years of my professional interest, and longer, for my personal interest (in NSW, QLD and the ACT).

A couple of weeks ago, we published this for the Friends of Grasslands Forum, and presented it at Mulligans Flat during that forum. I seek to highlight the practical challenges facing leaders needing to develop innovative approaches to tired problems…

Innovation and the “normal no”

As the biodiversity crisis fails to abate, it is clear we need to reconsider historic approaches and try new ways of fixing tired problems. We don’t need innovation for the sake of innovation, we need innovation to make gains with dwindling resources. We need to do more, more effectively, with less… Read more

You Snooze, You Lose

“Flocks of flies and budgerigars swirled around us, the flies far more eager to settle…”

There seems to be something alluring about the desert at dawn. Alice managed to get me up in the fives each morning I was there – to see the best of the landscape and its inhabitants. For my first sojourn into the red centre, I was salivating for a clutch of birds I hadn’t seen before. Thankfully the birds were what got me motivated, but the landscape itself was what satiated the appetite… Read more

Nature Seemingly Springs Eternal in Alice

“it is lovely when a symbol like that can help connect you to a new place”

OK – I wasn’t prepared. All those maps of Australia show Alice Springs as the dot in the middle. All those maps are two-dimensional. I expected, for some reason, a flat depauperate ‘desert’ landscape. And I am supposed to be a trained ecologist…

Alice Springs - the first impressions are great!

Alice Springs – the first impressions are great!

Flying in I was surprised by the number of trees in this ‘arid’ landscape. Then trekking into town you are confronted with emergent geology which juts out at you in no understated way. So straight-away two myths blown out of the water – it is not flat, and it is not scant of interesting plants…

I start my Alice adventure at the Desert Park – recommended to me by many. It turns out to be a fantastic entrée and a good decision. Luckily its bird week and I bump into some avid twitchers on the way in from the local Birds Australia crew [note-to-editor: update memory banks with new name] – they give me some tips and we realise we will cross paths again later this week… Read more

Turn a science degree into a license to make a difference

When discussing my career choice recently I was reflecting with friends how a whole generation of young Australians wanted to be marine biologists. I think it had something to do with Alby Mangles, Harry Butler and the Leyland Bros snorkeling together on the Great Barrier Reef, or Totally Wild. I got as far as choosing between terrestrial ecology and marine ecology for my honours thesis, and I chose terrestrial ecology because I liked scuba diving too much to make it my job…[more on that later]

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Focusing on the bottom line to improve landscape health

We need a better business case for landscape repair…

The Australian landscape we were handed has much room for improvement; from aesthetic, biodiversity and production perspectives. Much of the work to be done needs a partnership approach between landholders – mostly primary producer businesses – and investors – mostly government agencies investing for public good.

In packaging landscape improvement opportunities we need to consider the investor audience, which given the scale of investment required, and shared equity in returns, there are really only two options to do this efficiently – government and large private landholders or institutional investors. To connect with these audiences effectively we need to use their language and decision making frameworks.

If we view the landscape as ‘green infrastructure’ requiring investment and maintenance like any asset, and package investment opportunities in a ‘business case’ framework, we may be better-placed to connect with decision makers. A further ‘small-p’ political consideration is needed when packaging the investment opportunity for governments and institutional investors – it needs to attractive to them and their constituents – voters and shareholders respectively.

How do we make that happen?

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Some Cuts and Some Security – the Environment Budget

Before we lament cuts to individual programs in the Australian Government’s environment portfolio – let’s put it all into perspective…

According to the Commission of Audit (CoA) (for 2012/13) the Environment Department’s portfolio is approximately 11% of the size of the Department of Defence. To put this in perspective, I scaled the cool constellation infographics the CoA used to show the relative investments in these portfolios the Australian community is making.

The Environment portfolio is the constellation to the left, within a green dotted circle, so you don’t miss it…

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