Threatened species on Indigenous land may be of prime interest to scientists and ecologists, but they are often not the species of greatest importance to the Indigenous landowners. Understanding local priorities for biodiversity is an essential step in ensuring that conservation projects are locally beneficial and supported. Researcher Tom Duncan from Charles Darwin University has been collaborating with the Tiwi Land Council and Tiwi Land Rangers to explore this issue on the Tiwi Islands.
For over 10 years groups covering almost two-thirds of Australia have been using traditional Indigenous tracking skills to survey wildlife and their threats, usually at a local scale. A Threatened Species Recovery Hub project is working with over 40 groups to collate and analyse this wealth of information and to answer questions that the groups on the ground want answered to help them manage Country. Professor Sarah Legge and Dr Anja Skroblin take up the plot.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time camping at Stradbroke Island, Byron Bay and many other coastal places. I am a Bundjalung woman, so naturally I am drawn to the water. Wategos beach at Byron Bay was named after our family, and some of my elders were actually born in the lighthouse! Spending so much time around the water as a child made me want to work with nature and wildlife. While being a marine biologist was my first dream, I have found myself on a path of wildlife biology and conservation.
The Arakwal People of Byron Bay have recently undertaken their first cultural burn in over 30 years on the clay heaths of Arakwal National Park. They are also now more actively guiding decisions about the care of the rare Byron Bay orchid and its clay heath habitat, both of which are listed as Endangered under New South Wales environmental law. Cathy Robinson and Josie Carwardine from CSIRO and Norman Graham, an Arakwal and New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger, talk about their research collaboration.
Karajarri Rangers are leading a Threatened Species Recovery Hub research project to investigate how different fire management approaches affect biodiversity. The first field trip took place in April this year, when a team of 16 rangers, support staff and scientists journeyed to the Edgar Ranges for eight days of wildlife monitoring. Hub researcher Sarah Legge worked with the rangers to compile this report from the field.
Cissy Gore-Birch is a member of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub’s steering committee and the Chair of its Indigenous Reference Group. The Indigenous Reference Group was established to assist hub leaders and project teams to strengthen the engagement and participation of Indigenous people in the hub’s activities and research projects. Cissy recently attended the Species of the Desert Festival on the Paruku Indigenous Protected Area, where she spoke about both threatened and culturally important species, and increasing the voice of Indigenous people in environmental policies and research.
Dr Sally Box, the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner, talks about the importance of working with Indigenous groups to conserve Australia’s threatened species.
There are 27 different types of possums and gliders in Australia. They have a huge variety of sizes, shapes and appearances. We’ve compiled a profile on every species here. One quarter of our possums and gliders are listed as threatened under Australian environmental law. Help their conservation, be a citizen scientist: you can record sightings of possums from your local areas in the free 'CAUL Urban Wildlife App'.
It was once possible to walk from Melbourne to Sydney through almost continuous grassy woodland. Today most of these temperate woodlands have gone. A team at The Australian National University have have embarked on a series of new experiments to investigate bird breeding success, noisy miner control, hollow supplementation and wildflower translocation.
One million species threatened with extinction worldwide. That was the attention-grabbing headline that recently (and, sadly, briefly) captured the world’s attention, when the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES) released its first global assessment of how the planet’s biodiversity is faring – and what that means for people.
The Alligator Rivers yellow chat is a small, bright yellow insectivorous bird of the Kakadu floodplains. This Endangered species is imperilled by habitat changes caused by altered fire regimes, buffalo and feral pigs, rising sea levels and the spread of weeds like prickly mimosa and introduced grasses. What has been happening to degrade these floodplains has been equally of concern to Traditional Owners as to yellow chat researchers.
The central purpose of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub is delivering research that is relevant for and useable by decision-makers, land managers and others responsible for recovering threatened species. Working with partners is vital if we’re to achieve this.
The native forest on Norfolk Island provides vital habitat for the island’s threatened plant and bird species, many of which are found nowhere else on the planet (also called endemic). When the British colonised Norfolk Island in 1788, they cleared much of the original vegetation. Remaining forest is now protected in the national park and reserves, but plant recruitment is poor and invasive non-native plant species would likely overtake the forest without the on-going efforts of park managers. To preserve remaining forest, it is important to determine the main causes of declines and the most effective actions that managers can take to address these threats and restore native vegetation.
The Threatened Species Recovery Hub is celebrating great conservation outcomes from projects taking place in Booderee National Park for two Endangered species: the eastern bristlebird and the southern brown bandicoot (eastern subspecies). The Australian National University’s David Lindenmayer and Chris MacGregor give us the scoop on the bristlebird and Natasha Robinson shares the good news about the southern brown bandicoot.
As a kid I spent a lot of time after school down the river with my blue heeler Blossom. We’d roam river edges looking for bunny holes, duck nests and new swimming spots and come home muddy and happy. While my old friend and those days are long gone, sometimes I find myself checking a pitfall trap in the rain with my face in the dirt and feeling like not much has changed.
The roles that medium- and micro-predators play in ecosystems were first noted by Darwin. He observed that field mice prey upon “humble” bee nests, and that the abundance of cats in a district, through suppression of mice, may increase the flowering success of certain plants, such as clover. Aaron Greenville, Katherine Tuft, Rob Brandle and Chris Dickman discuss how the Australian arid zone is an ideal place to examine Darwin’s observation and its implications as they undertake research to help secure the future of the kowari.
The noisy miner is possibly Australia’s most successful native bird species. It is also one of the most hated, as its success has been at the expense of many other species of woodland birds, including several threatened species. For these reasons many people call for the bird to be culled – but does it work?
Know thy enemy is a famous quote from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. It is also a brilliant strategy when trying to saving an endangered species from a relentless threat. We talked to Dr Steve Murphy from The University of Queensland about new research which will GPS-track feral cats at Pullen Pullen Reserve.
The white-bellied frog in south-western Western Australia is experiencing population extinctions throughout its small range. The driver of recent declines is a mystery, but Emily Hoffmann of the University of Western Australia is on the case. She presents some of the pieces of the puzzle here and asks some of the questions that may produce the clues we need to solve it.
About the Possum and Glider module of the CAUL Urban Wildlife App. The app is a collaboration between the Threatened Species Recovery Hub and the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub of the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program.
The hub is undertaking a nation-wide assessment of the conservation status of every Australian eucalypt species. To commemorate this achievement we are holding a photo competition to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Australia's eucalypts. Entries close 22 July 2019.
Do you have data on threatened or near-threatened Australian birds, plants or mammals? Please send it in by 15 June 2019 and it will be used to update Australia's first ever threatened birds index and to create indexes for plants and mammals by the end of the year.
Many of Australia’s possums and gliders are under threat. Good information about where different species are greatly assists conservation programs. Members of the public can play a valuable role in helping to collect this information in their own backyards, and surrounding parks and natural areas.
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.
Fish need to move to find food, escape predators and reach suitable habitat for reproduction. Dams, weirs and culverts can create barriers that fragment habitats, isolating fish populations. An Australian innovation, however, promises to help dwindling fish populations in Australia and worldwide.
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.
Paruku Indigenous Rangers and elders recently hosted a workshop on night parrots for other rangers and conservation groups from the southern Kimberley and northern Western Deserts. The TSR Hub’s Nick Leseberg from The University of Queensland went along to learn from the rangers about the night parrot population in the Great Sandy Desert, the Paruku Rangers’ work with the bird, and to share findings from his research on the bird in western Queensland.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, Australia hosted an abundance of digging mammals like boodies, bilbies and potoroos. With the loss of these species from many parts of the landscape comes the loss of the work they did as ecosystem engineers.
An exciting new tool called the Threatened Species Index offers a window into how threatened species are faring and if our collective conservation efforts are stacking up for imperilled wildlife. The index has been made possible through unprecedented collaboration and data-sharing by over 40 research partners led by The University of Queensland, working closely with BirdLife Australia.
Citizen scientist residents are working with researchers to survey urban gardens in Albany and Bunbury for mammals in January and February. They hope to find critically endangered western ringtail possums.
The Threatened Species Recovery Hub is hosting a biodiversity horizon summit on 1 March in Melbourne. The summit will bring individuals together from across sectors with a stake in biodiversity matters, to develop horizon thinking that transcends individual sectoral perspectives and positions.
Reports by The Courier-Mail that the Threatened Species Recovery Hub is an anti-coal activist group involved in a review of Adani coal mine environmental plans are totally incorrect.
New research by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub has identified invasive species as the no. 1 threat to Australian biodiversity with habitat loss a close second.