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Leaving a legacy

Over the last decade our research network has worked with The Nature Conservancy on a variety of projects, particularly in the area of designing and implementing systems of protected areas. I have always admired the pragmatic way they operate.
The Nature Conservancy is an outcome-oriented organisation that delivers long-term environmental wins on the land and sea. Its reach is huge – from coral reefs to rainforests – from fisheries management and oyster reef restoration to grazing and fire management. They have new global programs in cities, climate change, water, land and marine.

The organisation is the world’s largest environmental non-government organisation. While it emerged in the United States, it now operates in over 50 countries.

The Nature Conservancy has always prided itself in delivering solutions that are based on high levels of scientific evidence. The previous Chief Scientist, Peter Kareiva, has substantially raised the quality and quantity of research in the conservancy – he has left a remarkable legacy.

Furthermore, The Nature Conservancy now has partnerships with many of the world’s best universities (Oxford, Cornell, Stanford etc.), individual scientists and social scientists from The University of Queensland to The University of Minnesota. The organisation is investing more than ever in research that makes a difference.

Personally, my love of nature has always trumped my love of science. Moving to The Nature Conservancy provides me with remarkable opportunities to save species and restore ecosystems all over the world – plus my global bird list will soar as I am duty bound to visit The Nature Conservancy’s properties and field sites around the world.

I start my new position as Chief Scientist with the Nature Conservancy on 14 November 2016 and will be taking extended leave from 1 September. By then you will have a new director – although I think the leadership group has been “directing” the Hub as a mutually supportive collective, like a small hive of social wasps (no queen), since we commenced.

I'm excited about the next chapter for both myself and the Hub, and look forward to retaining connections with the researchers and organisations who are contributing so much to threatened species recovery in Australia.

Professor Hugh Possingham 

Main image: Taggerty River by David Blair  

Bilbies unite

One of the things that struck Dr Anja Skroblin at the inaugural Ninu (Bilby) Festival was the connections between communities from opposite ends of the country, through ancient stories and songlines about bilbies.

She joined more than 120 Indigenous rangers, scientists, conservation organisations and key government representatives to share ideas, experiences and research conducted on managing bilbies.

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Seeking shelter

Using the knowledge accumulated through a recent workshop, experts from the TSR Hub will help environmental managers to better understand the refuges Australian threatened species need to survive the threats posed by climate change, drought, fires, predators and other dangers.

Participants used the Project 4.4 workshop to develop a practical framework which will be used to map and protect refuges across Australia.

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Bandicoots are back

Hopes are high for 11 southern brown bandicoots being reintroduced to Booderee National Park – the endangered marsupials haven’t been seen in the area since World War One.

TSR Hub researcher Chris MacGregor is supporting a Parks Australia program to reintroduce the species back into the region, which expects to relocate as many as 45 bandicoots over the next three years.

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Tassie birds at risk

Three Tasmanian birds perch atop the list of Australia’s most threatened birds, as revealed by a team of TSR Hub researchers from Charles Darwin University and The University of Melbourne.

The Orange-bellied Parrot, and King Island subspecies of Scrubtit and of Brown Thornbill, were assessed as the bird species facing the highest probability of extinction.

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Trees trump timber

Researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) have found the current management practices in the Mountain Ash forests of Victoria don’t stack up economically.

Professors David Lindenmayer and Michael Vardon used government reports to calculate the value that water, timber, tourism, agriculture and biodiversity in the forests contribute to Australia’s GDP.

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Hot frogs

Genetic translocations may hold the key to protecting Australia’s frogs from the effects of climate change, according to TSR Hub researcher and University of Western Australia PhD student Tabitha Rudin.

Ms Rudin is monitoring the fitness of thousands of tadpoles bred from frogs located on the outer-edges of their range, to determine if they show signs of adaptation to water stress. 

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The Threatened Species Recovery Hub is supported through funding from the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Programme.

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Threatened Species Recovery Hub

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