We undertake research to support the recovery of Australia’s threatened species and ecological communities.
To do this we work closely with over 200 on-ground partners across the country, including government agencies, national parks, conservation groups, Indigenous land managers, farmers and community groups.
Our network includes around 150 of Australia’s leading environmental scientists who are delivering more than 100 research projects over six years (ending 2021).
We are supported by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program.
Adaptive management (AM) is advocated in the natural resource management literature as a framework for managing ecological systems under uncertainty, yet it is rarely put into practice. Here, we report on a landscape-scale experiment to learn about the effectiveness of predator control on the breeding activity of the threatened malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata). Over the last 5 years, we established 22 control-treatment sites in 8 clusters across continental Australia and managed foxes and cats in and around treatment sites. We monitored malleefowl breeding activity annually through a network of citizen scientists and recorded fox and cat activity with more than 200 continuously operating motion-triggered cameras. Results from the malleefowl AM experiment so far provide little support for predator control as an effective conservation strategy for malleefowl. However, we recommend the experiment continue until all sites have been operational for at least 5 years. Our study represents a rare example of a landscape-scale predator control experiment within an adaptive management framework.
The buff-breasted button-quail is one of Australia’s rarest and most threatened birds. Contemporary research on this species has suggested a wide geographical distribution and seemingly stable, but low population size. Extensive survey effort conducted from 2018 to 2021 during this project has failed to locate a single population. Further, an investigation into the veracity of all contemporary research and reports has indicated the last confirmed record dates from the early 1920s. It is therefore reasonable to suggest there has been a decline in the population of this species. This report highlights the likely dire conservation status of the Buff-breasted Button-quail and recommends where further research and survey effort is required.
Alpine Victoria is home to Endangered peatland communities. When in good health, these alpine peatlands support biodiversity and provide many essential ecosystem services. A key challenge in managing these peatlands is identifying peatlands with poor hydrological function, as indicators of hydrological health have not been developed. In a search for useful indicators, we examined the chemistry of surface waters and compared these to expert assessments of alpine peatland condition. We found a lack of a relationship between our measurements and prior expert assessments of the peatlands as being in either good or poor condition, with all measures reflecting good water quality.Our water quality assessments provide a baseline for a range of water chemistry characteristics that can be used by managers to assess future changes to peatlands.