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 Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>