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.
Professor John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University discusses the importance of averting extinctions of less charismatic animals.
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.
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.
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.
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.