Australian islands have a vital role to play in protecting threatened species. By providing predator-free, relatively low-pressure environments, islands
can act as sanctuaries for species at risk on the mainland.
They also present novel conservation challenges and opportunities, and better information is needed on how to most effectively protect Australia’s island biodiversity.
Participants at the recent ‘Threatened Species Management on Islands: failures, successes and lessons learned’ workshop identified several areas where research can be directed to improve success rates for island conservation.
As well as looking at where and how threatened species management has been successful and unsuccessful on islands, the group discussed new and emerging challenges for island conservation and also identified potential future collaborations.
The workshop, run by Dr Justine Shaw and Associate Professor Salit Kark from the TSR Hub, attracted approximately 40 researchers from Australian, US, Scottish and Swedish universities, as well as people living and working on Lord Howe, Norfolk, Christmas and Phillip Islands.
The multi-disciplinary group included academics, research scientists, park rangers, state and federal government scientists, consultants, museum staff, community leaders and scientists from NGOs.
Management lessons from across islands and organisations were shared and will enhance future collaborations and joint projects, and the workshop will inform the future direction of the TSR Hub’s Project 4.2 (Saving species on Australian islands).
The workshop was held in conjunction with the recent Island Arks IV symposium held on Norfolk Island, in the wake of the Churchill Cyclone passing north of the island that morning.
The world is changing. Some of this change is planned and desirable. But much else is an unwanted consequence of the expansion of the human species. Those unwanted impacts will affect our lives and those of our descendants.
After undergraduate majors in Geography, Environmental Science and Botany, I did my PhD on native grasslands. I was struck by how these Critically Endangered ecosystems existing right on the edge of my city were being lost without most people even knowing about them – or understanding what amazing, super diverse ecosystems they are.
What influences where birds choose to nest? About 15% of Australian birds, or 114 species, need tree hollows for breeding or shelter. The number of hollow-bearing trees is declining due to timber harvesting and development.
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Endangered forty-spotted pardalote nestlings are falling prey to the larvae of a blood-feeding fly parasite. Researcher Fernanda Alves, reports on experiments that encourage forty-spotted pardalotes to ‘self-fumigate’ their nests by incorporating chicken feathers treated with a bird-safe insecticide.