Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Keeping on top of wildlife threats

16.08.2007
One of Australia’s greatest conservation challenges in protecting the Great Barrier Reef and other natural assets is staying one jump ahead of both the movement of protected species and the emergence of new and unforeseen threats.

Working out ways to give local communities as well as conservation managers the power to do this is the work of Professor Bob Pressey of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

Bob specialises in systematic conservation planning – the development of strategies that keep endangered species and habitats going in the long term. His research has been cited by over 3000 scientific publications worldwide.

“We’ve long known you can’t just put a fence round wildlife and expect it to survive. It moves in response to many factors, especially changing climate. And new threats emerge,” he says. “We have to find ways of protecting our native species that allow both for movements by the species and changes in the nature of the pressures and threats they face.”

Bob has summarised current scientific thinking about these challenges in a review paper titled “Conservation planning in a changing world”, soon to be published in the prestigious journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

The Great Barrier Reef is a case in point, he says. As climate change advances, scientists expect that its corals will become increasingly stressed and start to migrate towards environments that suit them better, meaning that protected areas may have to shift also.

While we are gaining a good understanding of the range of threats the Reef faces today – rising water temperature, runoff and sediment from the land, man-made toxins, overfishing and development pressures – new ones, such as the gradual acidifying of the world’s oceans due to CO2, are likely to emerge.

“It means you can’t afford to stand still if you want to hand your children the natural wonders you yourself love and value,” Prof. Pressey says.

Working in threatened environments worldwide from southern Africa to the Amazon floodplain, Prof. Pressey says that local people are enormously important to the successful protection of their environment.

“My job is to give them tools to understand the changes that are taking place, both in the protected species or ecosystems themselves and in the threats and pressures they face – and to look into the future to see where these might lead.

“For example, the Green (no-fishing) Zones of the GBR will benefit Fisheries. But what we do on land is also immensely important to their long-term health and survival. You can still harm the Reef in other ways besides overfishing.”

The important thing, he argues, is to give local communities choices about how they plan their future – and ways to visualise the results they might achieve from various courses of action.

“If you can see how a certain development or activity might affect native species decades into the future you might decide to explore other options that are just as economically fruitful, but which save more wildlife,” he suggested. “Or if you find that one area is absolutely vital to the survival of a particular species, you may ask: where else can we locate our industries or developments?”

Prof. Pressey’s research aims to build practical planning tools that enable local communities to anticipate both movement in native species and take a precautionary approach to the emergence of new risks. Behind these tools there is the sophisticated and complex science of understanding and modelling changes in natural and human systems, and predicting how they affect one another.

He is presently designing a new software system that can be used by local communities, agencies, and non-government organisations to guide decisions about conservation investments, on the land and in the sea. The new system will build on lessons from his C-Plan system that was used extensively in New South Wales in the late 1990s to help stakeholders negotiate new forest reserves. The system has also been used extensively in other countries.

More information:
Professor Bob Pressey, CoECRS, ph 07 3365 2454, mobile 0418 387 681.
Jenny Lappin, CoECRS, 07 4781 4222
Jim O’Brien, James Cook University Media Office, 07 4781 4822

Profesor Bob Pressey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.coralcoe.org.au/
http://www.jcu.edu.au

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>