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 Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

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: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>