I describe myself as an environmental social scientist and knowledge broker, but my story is more complex. I’ve had the kind of varied career that allows me to bridge different ways of thinking about and using knowledge. I have a background in government and private industry, many years in the research sector, and a lot of experience working with community organisations. This helps me understand the needs and processes of different sectors, and gives me insights into diverse community perspectives on environmental challenges.
Many Australian reptile species are in trouble. Without a stepping up of conservation action Australia’s extinction rate is set to increase in coming decades. Experts from across the country are keen to identify the species at greatest risk of extinction in order to provide time to act before it is too late.
Hayley Geyle is a Research Assistant at Charles Darwin University who has been instrumental in Threatened Species Recovery Hub research to identify the Australian species at greatest risk of extinction.
Discovering a new species can be a very cool thing, unless that species is a bacterial disease which threatens other species that you are striving to save. University of Sydney researcher Jessica Agius takes a look at a new disease threatening Christmas Island reptiles and her work to combat it.
Intact ecosystems and biodiversity resilience are key to a sustainable future society and economy, but human activity has degraded our biodiversity and ecosystems. Integrating biodiversity in business decisions has never been more critical.
On the Martu Determination in the Western Deserts, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa’s (KJ) Punmu Ranger and Families Programs are working together to teach important Traditional Ecological Knowledge about Mankarr (the greater bilby) to Martu children and their families.
Cats have played a leading role in most of Australia’s 34 mammal extinctions since 1788, and are a big reason populations of at least 123 other threatened native species are dropping.
Building community support for conservation is crucial for achieving successful outcomes. Communication activities are an important part of building this support and are used to encourage specific behaviour changes, such as getting more people to keep their pet cats inside. Alex Kusmanoff and colleagues at RMIT University have five lessons that can help conservation managers and researchers make their messages more effective.
Bradley Moggridge, the Threatened Species Recovery Hub’s Indigenous Liaison Officer, brought his authoritative Indigenous voice to the creation of a set of protocols for hub researchers seeking to collaborate with Indigenous partners.
A team of fish experts took a close look at which freshwater fish species were likely to go extinct in the next 20 years or so. Associate Professor Mark Lintermans of the University of Canberra and Hayley Geyle of Charles Darwin University take up this tale of fishes in hot water.
Queensland has several species of antechinus, tiny insect-eating mammals. A few species need cool, moist, habitat found at high elevation. But as climate change advances, these rare and often threatened species are forced into ever smaller and higher areas on mountain-tops.
Threatened Species Recovery Hub Deputy Director Professor Stephen Garnett from Charles Darwin University reflects on the importance of the community in threatened species conservation.
My name is Oliver Costello, and I’m a Bundjalung man. I was born in Byron Bay and grew up around the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.
Studies of previous major forest wildfires in Victoria in 1983 and 2009 have provided valuable insights into how forest ecosystems will respond to the 2019–20 bushfires. Forest ecologist Professor David Lindenmayer of The Australian National University talks about how pre-fire forest condition and age influence recovery.
The Karajarri Rangers and Professor Sarah Legge of The Australian National University talk about the Pirra Jungku (desert fire) project, which is investigating how fire management approaches are influencing the health of Karajarri’s desert Country.
Fire is a natural and frequent disturbance in the tropical savannas of northern Australia. But without active fire management, extensive fires that recur every two to three years have come to dominate the savannas. The Bardi Jawi rangers, Nyul Nyul rangers, Yawuru country managers and Sarah Legge explain how ranger groups are managing fire to protect and recover monsoon vine thickets in the Kimberley.
Many Acacias, including Western Australia’s Critically Endangered spiral-fruited wattle, need fire to promote recruitment. Leonie Monks and Dr David Coates of the Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions explain how prescribed burning has proved critical to the recovery of this threatened wattle.
Fire is a feature of just about every habitat across Australia, but it operates in myriad ways within landscapes – from frequent low-intensity fires in tropical savannas to once-in-50-years crowning fires in Victorian eucalypt woodlands. There are broad trends and theories that hold in fire ecology in Australia, yet when it comes to understanding fire for conservation management, local management is absolutely essential. Dr Hugh McGregor of the University of Tasmania/Arid Recovery explains why.
The 2019–20 bushfires burnt some of Australia’s most threatened woodland communities. Researchers from The University of Melbourne have been building a State and Transition Model based on expert knowledge to help inform recovery planning for Australia’s threatened woodland communities. Here, Dr Megan Good and Dr Libby Rumpff demonstrate how their framework could inform post-fire monitoring and management to avoid negative outcomes for threatened woodland ecosystems.
The 2019–20 wildfires have severely impacted animals of all major species groups. Here, national experts on mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and freshwater fish and crayfish present some of the key challenges for each group and how these will influence management and research priorities in the aftermath of the fires.
Professor David Lindenmayer and Chris MacGregor from The Australian National University tell us about their long-term monitoring collaboration with Booderee National Park managers, which is revealing detailed insights into how best to manage fires and other threats to biodiversity in the park.
Professor Stephen Garnett of Charles Darwin University walks us through how listing works to afford legal protection to species newly at risk of extinction.
Professor John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University discusses the importance of averting extinctions of less charismatic animals.
The 2019–20 bushfires burnt over 12 million hectares of south-eastern and south-western Australia, causing abrupt losses of biodiversity at a scale never seen before. Over a billion animals were estimated to have died, but the figure is likely much higher. The Australian Government’s Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel is guiding the work of prioritising species and ecological communities for emergency interventions and determining what those actions should be. Hub Deputy Director and Expert Panel member Professor Sarah Legge takes us though the hows and whys of this prioritisation, and some of its challenges.
New research has examined how small native mammals are distributed across the Top End and the factors driving this pattern. It has revealed that while feral cats and dingoes may limit small mammal populations, managing threats to vegetation, principally fire and feral buffaloes, is the best approach to protect and recover small mammals. Dr Alyson Stobo-Wilson of Charles Darwin University explains the new findings.
Australia has one of the highest rates of plant endemism of any country globally. After the catastrophic fire season of 2019–20, Dr Rachael Gallagher and Professor David Keith are leading two teams to find out which species and ecological communities are most in need of immediate recovery.
Cultural fire management is the way that Indigenous people have used fire to care for Country for thousands of years, and it continues today. The devastation wreaked by the 2019–20 bushfires across millions of hectares was a wake-up call for Australia and the world. Oliver Costello from the Firesticks Alliance explains how the fires demonstrated the need to listen to and care for Country.
The Australian Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner and Chair of the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel Dr Sally Box talks about the support for long-term recovery of species and ecological communities devastated by the 2019–20 fires.
Fire is a complex, important and pervasive ingredient in the ecology of Australia. It destroys life but brings renewal. It can operate within or beyond our control. Individual fires, and the historic patterning of fires, can have severe impacts on many threatened species and ecological communities. And fire can compound the impacts of many other threats. Professor John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University discusses the catastrophic losses of the 2019–20 fires, and how we can move on from mourning to action that can limit such future devastation.
The home of the western ringtail possum is also home to one of Australia’s most iconic wine regions – the Margaret River Region of south-west Western Australia. Winery businesses in Margaret River are combining their passion for wine-making with an appreciation of the local natural values and throwing their support behind a Threatened Species Recovery Hub project that seeks to harness citizen science for the protection of a local threatened species, the western ringtail possum. Project leader Rochelle Steven raises a toast to these citizen science pioneers.
What do the endangered western swamp tortoise (WA), pygmy bluetongue lizard (SA) and eastern bristlebird (NSW) have in common? They might all be extinct were it not for the efforts of dedicated threatened-species recovery teams. The TSR Hub recently brought together representatives from each of these recovery teams, and from other recovery teams from all across Australia, to learn what features of a recovery group contribute to its success.
Clare is a Biodiversity Field Officer with the Australian National University’s Sustainable Farms project. She tells us how she came to this role after an early life on farms in the UK, some bullet-dodging and globe-trotting.
The box gum grassy woodlands once stretched across south-eastern Australia, but have been reduced to less than 5% of their former extent. Holly Vuong speaks with Ann Kristin Raymer and Heather Keith of The Australian National University (ANU) about their new research, part of ANU’s Sustainable Farms, on developing ecosystem accounts for the woodlands to understand why this threatened ecological community is so valuable.
To help land managers get the best outcomes from their fox control investments, a collaborative project funded by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub and Victorian government agencies has developed a new fox population modelling tool. Dr Bronwyn Hradsky of The University of Melbourne led the project and is now working with agencies to apply the tool across Victoria. Here we discuss FoxNet and its applications.
An interview with Braedan Taylor, Karajarri Head Ranger, Karajarri Indigenous Protected Area and Karajarri Rangers