ARC Linkage grant success!

Last week we received some very exciting news from the Australian Research Council (ARC): both proposals our group had submitted in the ARC Linkage scheme were successful! These projects will continue our research on the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, and provide a huge boost to an emerging project on Indigenous land-use planning. Details are below. Both projects will likely start in late 2018-early 2019, so watch this space for ad for the postdocs and PhD projects associated with the projects.

Planning for sustainable development and biodiversity on Indigenous lands

team photo
Team members on the Tiwi Islands in August 2016 (L-R): Jane Elith (UM), Marg Ayre (UM), Colin Kerinaiua (Tiwi ranger), Brett Murphy (CDU), Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita (UM), Kate Hadden (Tiwi Land Council), Vivian Kerinaiua (Tiwi Ranger), Emily Nicholson (Deakin), Willie Rioli (Tiwi Ranger). Photo: Guru

Partner: Tiwi Land Council

Team: Emily Nicholson (Deakin), Kate Hadden (Tiwi Land Council), Brett Murphy (Charles Darwin University, CDU), Margaret Ayre (University of Melbourne, UM), Jane Elith (UM), Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita (UM), Alan Andersen (CDU), Brett Bryan (Deakin), Tom Kompas (UM)

Sustainable development is critical to reconciling economic growth, human wellbeing and biodiversity conservation across the globe. The complexity of planning for sustainable development is exemplified in the Tiwi Islands, 60km north of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Australia. The Tiwi Land Council, the primary decision-making body for land use on the Islands, is seeking to expand economic opportunities for Tiwi communities and to improve social, economic and health outcomes for the Tiwi people, while sustaining the Islands’ unique cultural and biodiversity values. The Tiwi Land Council has identified a fundamental need to develop their capacity to make informed decisions about integrated land use planning.

This project aims to support decision-making on the Tiwi islands, through new methods for collaborative land-use planning that advance knowledge about trade-offs between sustainable economic development and biodiversity conservation on Indigenous lands. Our approach is trans-disciplinary and participatory, integrating Indigenous and scientific knowledge and methods – see the figure below for project objectives. Outcomes will include:

  1. A conservation plan for new Indigenous Protected Areas on the Tiwis, based on social and ecological values reflecting Tiwi goals
  2. Projected impacts, costs and benefits of a range of alternative land-use plans on Tiwi objectives
  3. A set of data and models within a scenario evaluation framework, that can be updated and adapted to answer new questions
  4. Training for a Tiwi research assistant, building capacity in research and planning skills within the Tiwi community.

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Ecosystem risk assessment: new solutions to the global biodiversity crisis

Partners: IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), ProvitaWildlife Conservation Society, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Team: David Keith (UNSW), Emily Nicholson (Deakin), James Watson (UQ), Nick Murray (UNSW), Rebecca Lester (Deakin), Susanna Venn (Deakin), Richard Kingsford (UNSW), Lucie Bland (Deakin), Jon Paul Rodriguez (IUCN), Tony Auld (NSW OEH), Tracey Regan (DELWP), Hedley Grantham (WCS), Mark Tozer (NSW OEH)

This project aims to develop a typological framework for the world’s ecosystems, and undertake the first broadscale global risk assessment for ecosystems. It also includes detailed Australian risk assessments and scenario analyses to develop sustainable management of ecosystem services and climate adaptation strategies.

Our Red List of Ecosystems protocol (RLE) is applied in over 20 countries as the international standard for ecosystem risk assessment. We expect this project to at least double national assessments by 2020, reducing risks in decision making. Nationally, our project helps implement an intergovernmental agreement to apply RLE as the Common Assessment Method for listing ecosystems across all jurisdictions.

The project outcomes will include: the first global-scale framework for classifying terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems; the first global Red List of Ecosystems; and identified priorities for protecting Earth’s remaining wild ecosystems and restoring those that have suffered degradation. These advances will support progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals to improve human wellbeing globally, while the case studies, including coastal and alpine ecosystems, will significantly benefit on-ground conservation action.

This ARC Linkage grant follows on from our previous ARC Linkage grant (2013-2017), with many of the same researchers; happily this year we have grown our team of investigators, including the two postdocs on the first grant, Lucie and Nick.

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