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:
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering