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.
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Northern Australia’s mammals have suffered catastrophic declines over the last 30 years. A major new study has found that protecting and recovering habitat by improving fire management and reducing feral cattle, horses and buffaloes is the best approach to address the crisis.
Fire is a complex, important and pervasive ingredient in the ecology of Australia. It destroys life but brings renewal. 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.
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.