Managing Ecosystem Change in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

Funding: ARC Linkage Grant plus partner cash contributions from the Department of Environment & Conservation (DEC) – National Parks & Wildlife, Blue Mountains City Council,  DEC – Policy & Science Division, and the University of Western Sydney

Timeframe: 3 years from early 2007 – early 2010

Researchers: 

Prof Richard Kingsford, Dr Daniel Ramp, Dr David Wharton, Dr Shawn Laffan (University of NSW)
Dr John Merson, Dr Rosalie Chapple (BMWHI/UNSW)
Assoc Prof Rob Mulley (University of Western Sydney)
Dr Tony Auld (Policy & Science Division, DECC)
Prof Ross Bradstock (University of Wollongong)
PhD & Honours Students: Fiona Thomson (UNSW), Jack Pascoe (UWS), Gilad Bino (UNSW), Alex Gold (UNSW), Melissa Head (UNSW), Leah Shepherd (UNSW)

Project Partners: DECC Parks & Wildlife Division, Blue Mountains City Council, DECC Policy and science division, NSW Department of Primary Industry (Vertebrate Pest Research Unit), Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority

Project Overview: We have entered Earth’s sixth mass extinction event, this time human-driven. Protected areas are a major preventative option. This research identifies the conservation importance and spatial impacts of anthropogenic drivers (frequent fires, climate change and invasive species) on biodiversity in the GBMWHA. We test the effectiveness of the current reserve for biodiversity conservation and determine how to best manage at different spatial scales. The research will deliver conservation policy and management options through analysis of trends and development of spatially explicit models within an adaptive environmental management framework, including a required monitoring program for the WHA.

Goal: to assess the impact of drivers of change (fire, climate change, introduced species, urban development) on biodiversity loss and ecosystem conditions in the GBMWHA, with the following principal aims:

  • To quantify past present and future effects of drivers of change on biodiversity and ecosystem processes at different spatial scales
  • To quantify the effectiveness of the current protected area in representing and conserving regional biodiversity, idenitifying areas of relative importance (hotspots) for biodiversity
  • To identify and document the sensitivity of bioindicators to drivers of change
  • To develop a strategic monitoring programme
  • To develop an adaptive environmental management (AEM) framework

Project Update March 2010

A wrap-up meeting between researchers and stakeholders was held on March 11 at UNSW. The final report was circulated to all in attendance, and presentations made at the meeting by researchers and students can be viewed below.

[  Download Executive Summary ]

[  Download Final Report  ]

[  Download Project Summary ]

[ Download Presentation by Daniel Ramp ]

[ Download Presentation by Richard Kingsford ]

[ Download Presentation by Ian Renner, supervisor David Warton ]

[ View Student Project Summaries & Presentations – web page ]

Note: further information on this project is available via the UNSW website.

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