Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson and Dr Lee Baumgartner, together with Professor Peter Gell from Federation University, Ballarat, have written an Opinion Piece in The Conversation titled "More than just extra water needed". They say that while they broadly agree with the group's report, it is a mistake to focus on water volume alone." Without giving equal attention to improving water quality and building critical ecological infrastructure, it's possible that increasing river flows could actually harm the Basin. The piece has generated lots of comments.
ILWS PhD candidate Liz Znidersic recently visited Oak Ridge National Laboratory to study secretive bird species on the Oak Ridge Reservation with wildlife coordinator Kelly Roy. By using video and audio equipment, she found a new resident on the reservation -- a Purple Gallinule.
New ILWS member James Van Dyke discusses options including controvertial headstarting as a means to prevent the extinction of Australia's most widespread freshwater turtle, Chelodina longicollis, to increasing adult road mortality and reduced recruitment through nest predation from introduced foxes.
Congratulations Prof Max Finlayson on his election as a 2017 Fellow of Society for Wetland Scientists. At the 2017 Annual Meeting, Max delivered a presentation on the die back of mangroves in Kakadu National Park and was one of over 200 attendees who signed the San Juan Statement on Climate Change and Wetlands, Photo is presentation of Award from SWS President Gillian Davies San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 2017
The experiences of residents and their relatives accessing oral hygiene care in a residential aged care facility. Cresp, S. J., & Bernoth, M. (2017) Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 24(11), 26.
Indigenous Politics of Potential
Indigenous peoples and a liberal politics of potential is a blog post by A/Prof Dominic O'Sullivan, appearing in Policy Press blog, University of Bristol, based on his new book Indigenity A Politics of Potential.
Compassion, love, commitment, some core values of skilled social workers
A new book edited by Professor Manohar Pawar et al, demonstrates the central role of ethical character in effective social work practice.
Benefits vs Risks Large-scale invasive species control initiatives are being proposed worldwide. Drs Keller Kopf, Dale Nimmo and Paul Humphries highlight the importance of scientific evidence and independent assessments when deciding whether to control or eradicate invasive species in their article in the Conversation, May 24
On the rim of inspiration: Performance of AWF tourism enterprises in Botswana and Rwanda. A new publication by A/Prof Rosemary Black and Adjunct Dr Patrick Cobbinah, examining two case studies of AWF-initiated conservation lodges in Rwanda and Botswana. Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Connecting Community Organisations For Disaster Preparedness
The results of eight in-depth interviews conducted with local community leaders, reflecting on their leadership experiences before, during and after the fires in the Blue Mountains in 2013, a journal article by A/Prof Val Ingham and Dr Sarah Redshaw
Trait-based prediction of extinction risk of small-bodied freshwater fishes.
Kopf, R. K., Shaw, C. & Humphries, P. (2017) Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.12882
Exciting research projects for new PhDs
With topics ranging from taxidermied Murray Cod and environmental change in the Murray-Darling Basin, fish migration in the Mekong Delta, socio-ecological impacts of water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin, effects of feral animals on bird diversity around waterholes in the N.T. and palaeo-environments of river floodplain wetlands, our new researchers Matt O'Connell, Vu Vi An, Michael Vanderzee, (Pictured above) and Helenna Mihailou and Dale Campbell will have some great stories to share in the coming years.
Prof Dave Watson highlights the pivotal role that agricultural land and landholders play in biodiversity conservation in this episode of Landline featuring Woomargama
Our team of researchers, Prof Max Finlayson, A/Prof Catherine Allan, Drs Richard Culas and Michael Mitchell and Institute Adjunct Prof Jay Punthakey have just returned from a project visit to Pakistan. Launched in the capital Islamabad in January, the four-year project is being funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), with substantial cash and in-kind contributions from CSU, as well as in-kind contributions from partners in Pakistan.
Human Geographer, ILWS researcher Dr Jennifer Bond, examines the complex reasons behind the conflict in central Kenya in an article in The Conversation
A new article by ILWS Adjunct Dr Matthew McCartney and ILWS Director Prof Max Finlayson 'Exaggerating the value of wetlands for natural disaster mitigation is a risky business' has been published in The Conversation.
With carp numbers exploding thanks to ideal breeding conditions as a result of the floods in spring last year, Dr Lee Baumgartner spoke with Prime7 news about the problems faced by irrigators and the solution being investigated by the Federal Government.
Adjunct Dr Bruce Pennay shares his latest research findings on the impact of holding the plebiscite in regional areas particularly southern New South Wales and north east Victoria.with ABC Goulburn Murray.
We expect our decision-makers to make well-informed and responsible choices that benefit our communities. How can we measure the social impact this has? Recent PhD graduate Dr Jenni Greig has spent the last few years finding out.
There is a policy vacuum in the NSW Government when it comes to solutions for fixing country rail suggests by Adjunct A/Prof Ian Gray are discussed in his latest paper in Railway Digest December 2016.
ILWS Researchers, Professor Robyn Watts and Dr Julia Howitt, provide some answers about the 2016 hypoxic blackwater event in the southern Murray-Darling Basin. Robyn and Julia, members of a team that has been studying the Edward-Wakool River System since 2010, look at what has caused the ypoxic blackwater; what is happening now; why it has been so extensive and severe; why it was particularly bad in the Edward-Wakool River system; what is being done to minimise fish deaths; whether there are any good outcomes from the floods and blackwater; and whether we can we prevent hypoxic blackwater events happening in the future. Read more
2016 PhD graduates
Congratulations to all our ILWS PhD students who have graduated. Pictured above at the graduation ceremonies in Albury are international students (from Right to Left) Dr Chaka Chirozva from Zimbabwe, Dr Paul Amoateng from Ghana, Dr Eak Rana from Nepal, Dr Luisa Perez-Mujica from Mexico, Dr Saideepa Kumar from India as well as Dr Wes Ward. Dr Karma Tenzing from Bhutan also graduated as did Dr Jennifer Greig in Bathurst and Dr Jamin Forbes in Wagga. Well done!
A workshop, organised by the Institute in collaboration with Murray Local Land Services, was a great opportunity for those with an interest in the biocultural values of wetlands and rivers to get together, listen to some presentations, share knowledge and network.
Associate Professor Peter Simmons and Dr Michael Mehmet have secured a grant from NSW Department of Primary Industries for a research project which will use social media and interviews to explore approaches to shark management in populated coastal areas.
Powering down Dr Helen Masterman-Smith and Dr John Rafferty secure a NSW Environmental Trust grant for a new project to encourage householders to be energy efficient.
Exposed - Drugs in the workplace
A project funded by the NSW Police has been assessing whether there is a risk to officers being exposed to licit and illicit drugs in the workplace and absorbing these chemicals through skin contact, inhalation or accidental ingestion. ILWS environmental chemist Dr Julia Howitt experienced first hand police raids on cannabis plantations and even a flight in a helicopter. More in our Connections Newsletter page 4
Institute researchers are studying both the positive effects of the flooding in the Murray Darling Basin as well as efforts to alleviate negative effects such as hypoxic blackwater. Full story Connections page 19.
Reflective Learning and Teaching in Social Work Field Education in International Contexts Professor Pawar's latest paper is an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in overseas placements and he presents strategies to improve the quality of field education in international contexts.
Adjunct Professor Peter Waterman will address the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) Conference Oct 27 with initial findings on the collaborative research project Securing safe drinking water in regional Australia.
New Immigrants Improving Productivity in Australian Agriculture Adjunct Prof Jock Collins and A/Prof Branka Krivokapic-Skoko's report for RIRDC offers insights to improve the future productivity of the Australian agriculture sector.
Modelling Vegetation Regrowth An innovative and fun way to make a pitch. Dr Rachel Whitsed's poem on Modelling Vegetation Regrowth for the the CSU heats in the 5 Minute Research Pitch for ECR & MCRs held on October 26.
The Institute's Dr Dale Nimmo is among the thirteen young researchers from NSW who have been recognized for their research achievements in this year's prestigious Tall Poppy Awards. The awards, run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS), honour up-and-coming scientists who combine world-class research with a passionate commitment to communicating science. It is the first time that a researcher from Charles Sturt University has won a Tall Poppy Award.
The Benefits of fish passageways in Lao PDR project received a big publicity boost from the Australian Embassy in Vientiane on Tuesday 27 September when they erected a billboard promoting our project.
This piece is part of a great series on The Conversation about the science behind gardening. Dr Manu Saunder's article focuses on gardens as wildlife-friendly habitat, particularly for pollinators.
Spotlight on farm succession planning
There have been plenty of media hits discussing the findings of a new report, Australian Farming Families: Succession and Inheritance, produced as the result of a research collaboration between business advisory firm Chapman Eastway and CSU Professors Adam Steen and John Hicks.
ILWS Adjunct Associate Professor Bruce Pennay's new book, Picturing and Re-Picturing Bonegilla, was launched at the Write Around the Murray Festival at the Albury Library Museum on September 7. The book is an illustrated history of the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre, near Albury, set up for receiving and training migrants to Australia during the post World War II immigration boom.
Congratulations to Associate Professor Rosemary Black who has been appointed to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council's Board of Directors. A/Prof Black has more than 30 years experience in sustainable tourism as a practitioner, academic and researcher.
A collaboration between ILWS ecologist Dr Dale Nimmo, Deakin University and Parks Victoria has shown that fire and drought are having a negative impact on the Grampian ecosystem. More in a recent article in The Conversation.
The "Have a Say" survey, part of the Better Parks for People project, aims to improve understanding of how and why people, particularly those over 65 years of age, use parks according to Institute researcher Dr Rachel Whitsed. The survey closes on September 30.
Dr Manu Saunders's new outreach piece about two new long-term studies from UK & US showing wild pollinator declines linked to neonicotinoid (pesticide) use.
Reimagining NSW: how a happy, healthy regional and rural citizenry helps us all. An interesting article co-authored by economic sociologist Associate Professor Branka Krivokapic-Skoko calling for a fresh look at community and policy development in rural and regional NSW – one that will deliver rewarding jobs, a proper say for people in how they're governed, decent infrastructure, access to essential services, and an enriching environment.
Twelve weeks of additional monitoring in the Edward-Wakool River System this year by Institute researchers has produced the most detailed dataset available for the massive blue green algal bloom along the Murray River earlier this year.Read more in the latest Connections.
Reimagining NSW: how a happy, healthy regional and rural citizenry helps us all. An interesting article co-authored by economic sociologist Associate Professor Branka Krivokapic-Skoko in The Conversation calling for a fresh look at community and policy development in rural and regional NSW – one that will deliver rewarding jobs, a proper say for people in how they're governed, decent infrastructure, access to essential services, and an enriching environment.
Fleshing out facilitation – reframing interaction networks beyond top-down versus bottom-up Just published. A new paper in by Professor David Watson in New Phytologist is based on his research on the community-scale influence of mistletoes which reveals hitherto unappreciated roles of animals in mediating facilitations.
Connections, Issue 44 The August issue of the Institute's newsletter has all the latest news on new, current and completed projects and includes a profile story on Institute Adjunct Professor Peter Waterman who, together with Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson, is working on a Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) Challenge project – to secure safe drinking water for regional Australia....and lots more.
Acoustic recorders to eavesdrop on Australian ecosystems Ecologist researcher Professor Dave Watson is a member of an ARC discovery grant project working to set up a national network of acoustic recorders to listen into Australian ecosystems. The story of how soundscape ecology can reveal unseen stories of the natural world screened on Catalyst Tuesday July 12.
Best Paper in Environmental Development 2015 Congratulations to Dr Patrick Cobbinah (ILWS Adjunct) and Mr Paul Amoateng (PhD Candidate) - their paper Rethinking sustainable development within the framework of poverty and urbanisation in developing countries. The paper will be open access until 8th January 2017
Innovations in Landscape Conservation The North East Catchment Management Authority's "Innovation in Landscape Conservation" environment forum held on Tuesday May 17 at CSU's Wangaratta Study Centre included the John Paul Memorial Lecture given by the Institute's Dr Dale Nimmo. He spoke on "Dealing with multiple threats: landscape innovation for the 21st century."
Part 1: What is the role for regional land management in the face of climate change
Part 2: The potential to 're-wild' Australian landscapes.
B SAFE Report -The Blue Mountains Sustainable Approaches to Fire and Emergencies offers a new community bushfire preparedness plan for NSW. The Report, developed by ILWS researchers Dr Val Ingham and Dr Sarah Redshaw was launched on Friday June 17 by the NSW the NSW Minister for Emergency Services, the Hon. David Elliot.
Rusty Iron Woolsheds are "huge cathedrals of spaces in iron, spectacular, made possible by the invention of corrugated iron." says A/Prof Dirk Spennemann in this story on his latest research passion.
New Grant Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler for water researcher Members of the Institute's Sustainable Water Strategic Research Area have been successful in obtaining a Research Infrastructure Block Grant (2016) to purchase an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) for use across a number of the group's current and planned research projects.
The Case for Rail Freight for Regional Development Based on a paper presented at the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference (SEGRA) Bathurst, October 2015 Adjunct Associate Professor Ian Gray outlines the benefits for developing a more extensive freight rail network in NSW and beyond. (Video revised and updates in June 2016 to include new footage from the USA)
Great Barrier Reef bleaching is just one symptom of ecosystem collapse across Australia Dr Dale Nimmo writes in an article in The Conversation that this is just one example of a far broader problem. The coming months will expose how major parties value Australia's environment, and the election to follow will measure the degree to which Australians accept it.
Southern Bell frogs breed again Carol Maberly from the Australian Rural Communication Network interviewed Dr Skye Wassens on the the discovery of Southern Bell Frogs in wetlands in the lower Murrumbidgee on April 7.
Major award recognises contribution to research and innovation Congratulations to Dr Lee Baumgartner, who will represent Australia internationally after winning a national nomination recognising his research excellence in achieving food security outcomes in developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mediterranean Algae turns the Murray Blue-Green Prime7 News interviewed Professor Robyn Watts on the toxic blue-green algae infesting our waterways. ILWS Scientists have been conducting tests as they try to learn more about the bloom - which is the first of its kind in Australia.
ILWS researchers Lee Baumgartner, Jarrod McPherson, Wayne Robinson and Bettina Grieve were in Laos PDR from March 28 to April 4 to attend the inception meetings and site visits for a new ACIAR funded project to examine the biophysical and economic benefits of fish passageways in the Lao PDR.
From the Murray to the Mekong Prime7 News featured a story on an project led by ILWS researcher Dr Lee Baumgartner. The project aims to improve migration pathways for fish to benefit the environment and river communities of the lower Mekong Basin. The five-year project builds on a decade of research the CSU-led team has carried out in Laos showing that fishways can be effective for Mekong fish species.
Vale PK Basu All here at ILWS are saddened to hear of the death of our friend, colleague and fellow ILWS member Associate Professor P.K. Basu who passed away Friday 18 March. PK, as he was always known, was an active member of the Institute and was co-leader of the Institute's Sustainable Business Development in Regional Australia Strategic Research Area. We will miss him greatly and our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Australian Water Partnership - Opportunities in India CSU has joined a new federal initiative known as the Australian Water Partnership. In discussions with the Government of India and the World Bank the Partnership is seeking to provide support to the India National Hydrology Project, and expects to place a call in mid-April for submissions.
Post-doc Dr Manu Saunders was one of six inaugural winners of the Office of Environment & Heritage/Ecological Society of Australia's Prize for Outstanding Outreach. Her topic "Where do pollinators hang out at school" has been chosen as the winners' research project with years 5-8 in schools around Australia, as part of CSIRO's Scientists in Schools program.
Honours graduate Tara Hicks, Dr Keller Kopf and Dr Paul Humphries are the authors of a new report, Fecundity and egg quality of dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus) in East Gippsland, Victoria, ILWS Report No 94, which contains management recommendations for the Recreational Fishing Grants Program, Fisheries Victoria.
Recent reports from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority have drawn on information provided by ILWS scientists monitoring ecosystem responses to Commonwealth environmental water. CEWO Media Release and the Basin Plan annual report 2014-2015
Associate Professor Rosemary Black and her colleague Prof Betty Weiler, from Southern Cross University, have won the Editors of Tourism Recreation Research (TRR) Article of the Year Award 2015 for their joint contribution, The changing face of the tour guide: One-way communicator to choreographer to co-creator of the tourist experience, published in TRR Volume 40, No.3, 2015, pp. 364–378.
Pollinators! Not Just the Bees:the buzz on our other vital insect helpers in the Conversation by Dr Manu Saunders et al suggests there is a lot we don't know about pollinators in Australia.
Pastoralist disturbance effects on Himalayan marmot foraging and vigilance activity The latest paper by PhD Candidate Buddhi Poudel looks at the influence high pastoral activity has on the Himalayan marmot population.
Protecting apex predators by Dr Paul Humphries et al is a chapter in the new book "Conservation of Freshwater Fishes".
Performance and Persona: Goffman and Jung's approaches to professional identity applied to public relations. Public Relations Review, a paper by Dr Johanna Fawkes
Post-disaster social reconstruction and social development the social development approach may facilitate better planning and preparation for reconstruction argues Prof Manohar Pawar in his recent paper.
Murrumbidgee LTIM team ecstatic to find southern bell frogs successfully breeding after environmental watering This threatened frog species is breeding for the first time in more than 40 years in the mid-Murrumbidgee wetlands.
Professor Andrew Vann , Vice-Chancellor, Charles Sturt University, spoke at the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) conference hosted by CSU at its Bathurst campus on Leadership: what does it mean, how is it evidenced, advocacy and lobbying. His talk provides a great insight into his views and how we could approach these important issues.
Graduation Day Congratulations to our post-graduate students who received their doctorates and Masters on Thursday December 17 at the CSU graduation ceremonies held in Albury. They were Dr Alexandra Knight, Dr Stacey Kopf, Dr Andrea Rawluk, Dr Wayne Deans, Dr Yalmambirra, and Luke Pearce (Masters). Other graduates this year included Dr Yustina Murdiningrum, Dr Mohan Poudel and Vijayakumar Kuttappan (Masters)
Advocating for the natural world, an opinion piece by Prof Kathleen Bowmer on the value of artists and writers to stimulate conversations for future options.
Stigmatisation and the Social Construction of Bullying in Australian Administrative Law: You Can't Make an Omelette without Cracking an Egg a new paper by Dr Angela Ragusa & ILWS Phd Candidate Philip Groves.
Disproportionate Declines in Ground-Foraging Insectivorous Birds after Mistletoe Removal is the latest paper by Prof Dave Watson
Determining change in aquatic ecosystems, an editorial looking at questions of the wise use of wetlands by Prof Max Finlayson. Are we effectively addressing these issues?
Techniques in historic preservation: Recording historic corrugated ironis the latest ILWS Report #92 by A/Prof Dirk Spennemann.
Wildlife restoration: Mainstreaming translocations to keep common species common is the first co-authored paper for husband and wife researchers Prof Dave Watson and Dr Maggie Watson.
Dr Wayne Robinson presented a paper at the Joint Conference for the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society and Australian Society for Limnology, November 23-26, Wellington, New Zealand.
The Best Australian Science Writing Anthology for 2015 includes two ILWS members. Congratulations to Dr Manu Saunders and A/Prof Ian Lunt .
Welcome Dr Lee Baumgartner who has joined ILWS on a 5-year term to to develop and execute a research plan which aligns with CSU's Research Plan and objectives.
ILWS Annual Book Launch was held Thursday, 29 October 2015. This year the launch celebrated the release of seven books.
Hearty congratulations to our members who have received an academic promotion for in "recognition of their academic leadership and the outstanding contributions to the work of the University and to their disciplines."
* Dr Wayne Robinson (environmental science) , promotion to Senior lecturer
* Dr Catherine Allan (environmental science), promotion to Associate Professor
* A/Prof Robyn Watts (environmental science), promotion to Professor
Moving Beyond Talk. In the last 100 years we have lost around 60% of the world's known wetlands and more than 80% since the 1700s. Prof Max Finlayson reporting on the International River Symposium speaks on the challenges in moving beyond talk and into action in changing the way we manage our natural resources in an interview with Wandile Kallipa on Channel Africa Radio's Africa Midday show, Sept 21
Restoring and conserving nature in the Anthropocene means changing our idea of success The Earth has unofficially entered a new epoch – the Anthropocene. It suggests that humans are the dominant influence on the planet's ecosystems and biosphere - the sum total of life and non-living material on Earth. Many ecosystems have changed so radically that it is no longer possible to restore them to what they once were, and in other situations it is not appropriate.From the The latest article from Dr Keller Kopf, Prof Max Finlayson and Dr Paul Humphries in The Conversation
The Disappearing Goanna. Twenty years' of Accelerated Callus Growth obscuring the Design of A Carved Tree, Mungabareena Reserve, Albury (NSW), by A/Prof Dirk Spennemann explores the history of Mungabareena Reserve.
Incorporating anthropogenic effects into trophic ecology: predator–prey interactions in a human-dominated landscape is the latest paper by Dr Dale Nimmo et al in Royal Society Proceedings B
Cybersystemic Possibilities for Governing the Anthropocene A report by Luisa Perez-Mujica after attending the 59th Meeting of the International Society for System Sciences (ISSS) in Berlin, 2015
Congratulations to Luisa Perez-Mujica on winning the Judges & People's Choice Awards at the CSU 3 Minute Thesis Competition. She will represent Charles Sturt Uni at the Trans Tasman 3 Minute Thesis final in Brisbane on Friday October 2nd.
Vive la résistance: reviving resistance for 21st century conservation, published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution is an opinion piece by Dr Dale Nimmo et al.
State of global wetlands and implications for the Sustainable Development Goals will be the keynote address by Professor Max Finlayson at the 18th International River Symposium in Brisbane 21-23 Sept.
Edward-Wakool Selected Area Progress Report April - June 2015 is the most recent report for the Edward-Wakool Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project (LTIM Project) which is monitoring the ecological outcomes of Commonwealth environmental watering.
Award for Research Excellence Congratulations to the members of the Institute's Sustainable Water Strategic Research Area who have been awarded this year's CSU Vice-chancellor's Team Award for Research Excellence. The team is led by Associate Professor Robyn Watts and includes Mr James Abell, Dr Catherine Allan, Ms Carmen Amos, Dr Mariagrazia Bellio, Mr Bradley Clarke-Wood, Prof Max Finlayson, Ms Tamsin Greenwood, Dr Andrew Hall, Dr Julia Howitt, Dr Paul Humphries, Dr Kim Jenkins, Dr Richard Keller Kopf, Dr Nicole McCasker, Dr Wayne Robinson, Ms Nikki Scott, Dr Skye Wassens, Dr Benjamin Wolfenden and Dr Alek Zander.
Wetlands and Human Health has just been published by Springer. The new book is edited by Institute Director Prof Max Finlayson with Prof Pierre Horwitz, and Prof Philip Weinstein.
Report #4 Selected Area Progress Report April - June 2015 is the most recent report for the Murrumbidgee Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project (LTIM Project) which is monitoring the ecological outcomes of Commonwealth environmental watering.
Social and economic impacts of tourist logdges on local communities: Case studies from Rwanda and Botswana. This report by A/Prof Rosemary Black prepared for the African Wildlife Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya is now available.
New Grants for ILWS Research From Woodland dynamics,fish, frogs, vegetation and landscapes, to stakeholder satisfaction and community groups, ten new projects have received funding.
Regional Rail Revival With ever increasing loads of freight on our roads with the flow on issues of road safety and costs to regional communities Adjunct Associate Professor Ian Gray presents options and analysis for reviving regional rail freight. (Regionalisation of Rail Freight PDF)
Temporal shift in activity patterns of Himalayan marmots in relation to pastoralism, a new paper by ILWS PhD candidate Buddi S. Poudel, Dr Peter G. Spooner and Dr Alison Matthews
REDD+ framework with integrated measurement, reporting and verification for Community Based Forest Management Systems (CBFMS), a recent paper co-authored by ILWS PhD candidate Eak Rana
Nineteenth Century Indigenous Land Use of Albury (NSW) by Dr Dirk Spennemann is one of 5 ILWS reports released recently.
Biodiversity in Rural Landscapes With a record number of over 550 people attending the conference on Friday June 12 our research was in the spotlight. The program featured four ILWS speakers including Prof Dave M Watson, Dr Peter Spooner and Dr Manu Saunders speaking on different research projects linked to the Biodiversity Conservation Strategic Research Area and A/Prof Ian Lunt delivered the keynote address. Abstracts and Program PDF
The Fecundity and egg quality of dusky flathead in East Gippsland, Victoria is being studied by Tara Hicks, Dr Keller Kopf and Dr Paul Humphries.of the Fish Ecology Collaborative Research Unit (FECRU).
The Sea is All Around Us A global exhibition by researcher and artist A/Prof Margaret Woodward acknowledging and raising awareness of the working lives and journeys of seafarers making visible their role in transporting commodities, materials and objects to and from Australian shores was on at the Dome Gallery in Melbourne until May 21.
Single-crop farming is leaving wildlife with no room to turn Dr Manu Saunders' recent research shows a possible link between monoculture landscapes and fewer wild pollinators.
Winners of the S2S Big Tree Competition Dr Peter Spooner spoke on ABC Riverina breakfast with Anne Delaney at 7.30am on 6/5/2015 and at 9.35am on 7/5/2015 with Tim Holt of ABC Radio Bega about success of the Big Tree competition.
Overcoming the challenges of a web query on a landmark image to return similar photos. Dr Xiaodi Huang explores a novel technique in a recently published paper.
Ecosystems Services (2015) 56-70 New Journal article by Prof Gary Luck and Prof Max Finlayson
Nature how do I value thee? Let me count the ways, and Lost on a floral desert are two articles by ILWS ecologist's Dr Manu Suanders and Prof Gary Luck published in Wildlife Australia Magazine in March 2015.
B SAFE - Blue Mouintains Sustainable Approaches to Fire and Emergencies - A Community Action Model Building Resilience, Improving Preparedness and Enhancing Self Responsibility is a new project which will be led by ILWS researchers Dr Val Ingham and Dr Sarah Redshaw
Rethinking sustainable development within the framework of poverty and urbanisation in developing countries. Environmental Development, 13, 18-32 New Journal article by Cobbinah, P. B., Erdiaw-Kwasie, M. O., & Amoateng, P. (2015).
Biodiversity Across the Borders Conference. - "Biodiversity in Rural Landscapes" is being held on 12th June 2015 at Federation University Australia, Mt Helen Campus.
Replacing Trains with Coaches With the future of New South Wales (NSW) regional train services under question, concern has been expressed by ILWS researchers Adjunct A/Prof Ian Gray and Dr Merrilyn Crichton that replacement of trains with coaches will diminish levels of mobility and raise social exclusion for some people.
Water research projects that tick all the boxes The official launch of the Institute's two major environmental water monitoring projects funded by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) was held on Wednesday, February 18 at the Albury-Wodonga campus.
"Protected Area Governance and Management"is a new ebook in which Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson is a supporting author of a chapter on 'Managing Freshwater, River, Wetland and Estuarine Protected Areas' .
Is there a stuffed Murray Cod in your local watering hole? ILWS researcher Dr Humphries needs your help to find stuffed Murray cod in pubs around the Murray-Darling Basin.
Brush Turkeys rule not Kiwis, a new journal article by Prof Dave Watson reveals that the champion status of kiwis as egg laying giants may not be warranted.
Withdrawing from agrarian livelihoods: Environmental migration in Nepal, is the latest publication by Adjunct Dr Popular Gentle.
Science and the ABC Goulburn Murray Morning Radio Each fortnight on the Tuesday morning show from 9.30am Dr John Rafferty joins Joseph Thomsen to discuss the latest science news, particularly related to sustainability and its environmental and social impacts.
NSW Scientific Committee In Jan 2015 Prof Dave Watson was appointed to the Committee, which has various functions under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.
A pub crawl in the name of scienceABC's 7.30 Report checked out what fish ecologist Dr Paul Humphries is planning in his bid to unlock some secrets of the vulnerable native fish the Murray Cod.
ILWS leads two new Commonwealth environmental water projects "These projects are a vital part of an important national program to restore the river systems of the Murray-Darling and provide a basis for a sustainable future for our communities in unison with the wider environment". Institute Director Max Finlayson
What the G20 did not mention 'Global Value Chains' (GVCs) hailed as the silver bullet but Barney Foran has some words of caution for Team Australia.
Why are there no true freshwater protected areas in Australia? ILWS researchers Dr Humphries, Dr Kopf and Dr McCasker question the current situation.
Social media in Saudi Arabia: Exploring its use in two natural disasters, a new journal article by Dr Peter Simmons and Y, Al-Saggaf in Technological forecasting and social change.
Balancing the G20's Global Impact What are the 'blood pressure' indicators of the world's top twenty economies? ILWS adjunct researcher Barney Foran and colleagues have created reports on the G20, based on consumption accounting methods to detail the critical economic, social and environmental measures that underpin how each country works
.Humanitarian immigrant entrepreneurs in private and social enterprises is the new ARC Discovery grant project for A/Prof Branka Branka Krivokapic-Skoko.
New five year projects in the MDB ILWS is leading the monitoring and evaluation research in two areas in the Murray-Darling Basin Commonwealth LTIM Project.
Contrasting Patterns of Laval Mortality new journal article by Dr Nicole McCasker seeks to understand critical mechanisms for conservation of wild fish populations.
Social and Community Development Practice Alternative ways for social workers and community organizers to reach out at local levels in new book by Prof PawarManaging water and agroecosystems for food securityInstitute Director, Professor Max Finlayson, is a key contributor to this new book.
Tour Guiding Research Take a look into the fascinating world of tour guiding and its role in creating memorable experiences in A/Prof R Black's latest book.
Smart and Inclusive Water Management Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson is one of the lead authors of a chapter on "Sustainable Development and Ecosystem Services" in a new publication focussing on water management world-wide.
Looking beyond the water Reflections by ILWS Phd Student Jess Schoeman on the International Riversymposium, held in Canberra
This is what Researchers do for fun After a busy few weeks A/Prof Rosemary Black shares her adventures on her day off
Count wild pollinators in your garden between 9-15 November 2014 and contribute to wild insect pollinator conservation in Australia.
Water in the Murray-Darling Basin. How do we create thriving, vibrant regional communities through the equitable distribution of such a limited resource?' .
Losing wetlands.. how much has gone? It has been frequently stated, but without provision of supporting evidence, that the world has lost 50% of its wetlands (or 50% since 1900 AD). A recently published review of 189 reports of change in wetland area by ILWS adjunct Prof Nick Davidson, has found that the reported long-term loss of natural wetlands averages between 54–57% but loss may have been as high as 87% since 1700 AD.
Where will your research take you? ILWS researcher Dr Rosemary Black is currently undertaking a research project for the African Wildlife Fund (AWF) based in Kasane in northern Botswana – the tourist hub for Chobe National Park. Her blog posts offer an insight to the real world of field research.
Community Connections Following last year's devastating bushfires in the Blue Mountains, a research project is underway to identify, explore and address the needs of older vulnerable people living in that region.
The River Wave Concept: Integrating River Ecosystem Models is out now in the journal BioScience
Our Place - Riverina and Murray Project was launched by South-West Regional Manager for the NSW OEH, Mr Graeme Enders at CSU Albury Wodonga on August 18
Climate Change and the Community Forum was attended by over 120 people in Albury on Tuesday August 19
Regrowth provides complementary habitat for woodland birds A paper by ILWS researchers Lisa Smallbone, Dr Alison Matthews and A/Prof Ian Lunt,
REDD+ and wetland management was the focus for a meeting attended in China by Prof Max Finlayson behalf of the Ramsar Convention's Scientific Technical Review Panel
Managing Multi-functional Landscapesis part of a new international project funded by the USA Joint Fire Sciences Program
Carbon dioxide, water and energy fluxes....A new paper by ILWS researcher Andrew Hall et al on irrigated broad acre crop
Detecting Historic Trees Intense community interest has helped ILWS researchers locate old survey trees of heritage importance across southern NSW. "We've had a lot of success in our search for these historic trees that were used to help map and survey farming land in the region," said project leader Dr Peter Spooner.
Pricing Carbon A strange alliance has reignited the carbon pricing debate in Australia, and led to clear differences in policies says ILWS Professor Kevin Parton.
Professor Gary Luck has now completed his four year ARC Futures Fellowship on Integrating the conservation and ecosystem-service value of Australia's catchment
Queen's honour recipient Adjunct Prof David Mitchell has been named a Member in the general division of the Order of Australia in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours list. The citation lauds Prof Mitchell for his "significant service to conservation and the environment, particularly wetland and water research". Prof Mitchell is an authority on aquatic plants and was commissioned to edit and co-author a book Aquatic Vegetation and its Use and Control for the UNESCO International Hydrological Decade.
Food Security and the Murray-Darling Basin Conference: Prospects, Opportunities and Challenges. Call for contributions , research and practitioner experience.
Rural lifestyles and community wellbeing are the focus of a new book edited by Dr Angela Ragusa.
ABC Central West interviewed ILWS PhD candidate Jenni Greig regarding her community survey of Hilston on the impacts of social change on small ccommunities.
Trust: A planning guide for wildfire agencies and practitioners, was launched with the North East Victorian community & leaders of relevant agencies at Wodonga CFA.
A report on the project designed to help Australia's wild-catch commercial fishing industry raise its "social acceptability" has found that while people support Australia having a wild catch fishing industry, they believe that the industry can have a negative impact on marine habitat, animals and birdlife, recreational fishing and the availability of fish species for seafood in the future.
Wetland Warrior Adjunct Professor David Mitchell has dedicated his life to the environment but Alzheimer's disease is slowing his flow of memories.
Go on, hug a tree it will make you feel better.There is increasing evidence that trees are good for our mental health says Dr Shelby Gull Laird.
Ramsar Wise Use of Wetlands Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson was recently appointed as Ramsar Chair for Wise use of Wetlands.
Social Policy for Water Insecurity Professor Manohar Pawar's new book examines how social policy contributes to addressing water insecurity issues
Stockholm may well seem a world away but the influence of our researchers does often cross the globe. Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson is the lead author of a Chapter on Wetlands in a new book "Managing Water and Agroecosystems for Food Security" edited by Eline Boelee, which was launched on September 4 at the IWMI Booth at Stockholm World Water Week.
Contrary to popular belief, specialist animals such as the Mistletoe bird from Australia are not vital to the spread of parasitic mistletoes through woodlands and forests. According to A/Prof David Watson, who recently had a paper published in the prestigious journal Oecologia, they 'cheat' on the efforts of more common birds that move mistletoe plants into new areas.
Improving the lot of people in a poor, remote village amid a rainforest important for conserving the biodiversity of Laos has been the subject of intensive study by an ILWS Masters Student.
Four CSU experts in food security provided insights in various aspects of this growing issue for the nation during a public forum held at CSU in Albury-Wodonga on Wednesday 14 August.
ILWS is looking to expand its relations with the isolated Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, particularly in research into environmental management. Director of the Council for Renewable Natural Resources Research in Bhutan, Dr Tashi Samdup, visted Albury to discuss future collaboration with Senior ILWS researcher Dr Joanne Millar.
How are we going to feed 50 million people, the estimated population of Australia in 2050? The Open Forum features a forum on Food Sustainability, with articles by guest writers including CSU and ILWS researchers exploring the potential crisis that will not just affect our country but the world.
As the candidates hit the hustings ahead of the 2013 Federal Eelection on Saturday 7 September ILWS researchers Dr Troy Whitford, Professor John Hicks and Professor Kevin Parton can provide comment and analysis.
The increasing privatisation of intelligence activities around the globe in recent years will be discussed during a one-day symposium in Canberra.
How proximity to a 'green' roof or wall affects city residents is the subject of a research project being carried out in Sydney by ILWS student, Ms Karina Maloney.
New research at ILWS examining what drives agricultural land use change in Australia has found that changes in commodity prices, total land holdings and rainfall only have a minor impact on land allocations in the short term. The study, published in the latest Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics examines the role that output and input prices, total land holdings and climate have on land use in Australia over the last three decades.
Food security is shaping as a critical issue for all Australians, especially those in the Murray Darling Basin. In the lead-up to the next federal election, ILWS will host a public debate that will explore the views of candidates standing for the election, as well as CSU experts, on important aspects around food security at CSU in Albury-Wodonga on Wednesday 14 August.
ILWS economist Professor Kevin Parton has welcomed news the carbon tax will be scrapped next year in favour of an early start to an emissions trading scheme (ETS).
While there has been much research about rivers in rural and remote Australia, including by CSU, an ILWS PhD student from Botswana is examining the Cooks and Georges Rivers in Sydney, NSW, to estimate the value to urban communities of improved riverine health.
For most of us, ticks and lice mean those nasty little parasitic creatures that feed on the blood or other bits of their hosts. For ILWS wildlife researcher Dr Maggie Watson, they are anything but nasty.
ILWS researchers are investigating what rural and regional Australians know about common, everyday health risks and activities. "Health authorities across Australia are constantly sending out messages to help Australians make better health choices. But residents in Australia's rural areas have been shown to have greater trouble understanding health messages than people in metropolitan areas," said project coordinator Dr Andrea Crampton. The researchers are seeking metropolitan and rural participants to undertake an online survey. "We want to see what people actually know about common activities that might pose short and longterm health risks." For more information on the survey, call Dr Andrea Crampton on (02) 6933 4032
Leading ILWS ecologist Associate Professor David Watson is part of a vocal group of Australian researchers who fear our parks will become playgrounds for the rich rather than reserves for Australia's endangered plants and animals.
Government assistance to prop-up Australian car manufacturing is a waste of taxpayers' money according to ILWS researcher Professor Kishor Sharma who said funding should instead be targeted at supporting workers who will lose their jobs. The closure of Ford Australia's manufacturing plants in 2016 should not be a catalyst for more industry assistance.
A semi-random tweet by Euan Ritchie of Deakin University ended up mobilising a small army of scientists including ILWS's Dave Watson and Ian Lunt to co-write an article for The Conversation on the rapid destruction of this country's national parks system.
ILWS fish biologist and river ecologist Dr Paul Humphries is coeditor with Dr Keith Walker from the University of Adelaide of a new book " Ecology of Australian Freshwater Fishes", published by CSIRO. ttp://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/6515.htm
"This edited volume reviews our past and present understanding of the ecology of Australian freshwater fishes. It compares patterns and processes in Australia with those on other continents, discusses the local relevance of ecological models from the northern hemisphere and considers how best to manage our species and their habitats in the face of current and future threats."
The 'Regional Rail Revival' seminar held at Blayney on Friday May 10 has been hailed a great success by organiser Adjunct Prof Ian Gray. One hundred and five people gathered to hear information and join in the discussion about what freight railways can offer regional areas and how railways interstate and overseas have been revived for national as well as local benefit.. Speakers offered updates on this process and discussed how the Blayney-Demondrille model can be applied in different situations. For a full report, audios and PDF copies of the presentations.
Australian farmers want excess water from large floods to be 'banked' in aquifers for use in dry times. A survey by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT), which included ILWS researchers, shows that farmers in the Namoi catchment area in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) mainly support water banking, or storing extra water underground, from large floods.
ILWS PhD Student Kylie Williams writes for The Conversation on the fossil fields of Riversleigh in far north western Queensland which provide one of the world's richest Oligo-Miocene faunal records.
A looming election, a $17 billion dollar shortfall in revenue, and education reforms and a disability insurance scheme to fund, has set the scene for the federal Budget on Tuesday 14 May.
ILWS researcher Barney Foran warns that " we need to acknowledge the way our pursuit of economic growth drives other species' decline" in his article in The Conversation
The latest edition of ARRC's RipRap Edition 35: Restoring Rivers and Wetlands to Life includes an article on pages 22 – 24 "A stream of Scientific Research" on our Water SRA research projects in the Edward-Wakool and Murrumbidgee River Systems PDF Version
News that the European Union (EU) has restricted the use of neonicotinoid insecticides was welcomed by scientists, farmers, beekeepers and politicians around the world. ILWS PhD candidate Manu Saunders commented on the implications for other pollinators and the Australian context in The Conversation
A two-day workshop to discuss what information Australia needs to meet its international obligations for its inland and coastal wetlands covered by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has been hailed as "very forward-looking and very interesting" according to international wetland expert Prof Nick Davidson.
Prof Max Finlayson was interviewed on ABC Rural on Friday April 26 about Kakadu and other wetlands and the need to protect them.
An ILWS expert in international trade has highlighted the costs and benefits of the farm finance support package announced last weekend by the Federal government. ('Farmers offered package to help solve debt woes', ABC News, 27/04/13)
Professor John Hicks ILWS Professor of Economics, believes Australian farmers are not on a 'level playing field' in world agricultural trade, and there is some justification for the Australian government to support struggling farmers, but at a cost to the Australian taxpayer.
A Canadian rail expert will speak at a seminar in Blayney on Friday 10 May about the potential for the redevelopment of freight railways in regional areas and how interstate and overseas railways have been revived for national and local benefit.
The Regional Rail Revival seminar at the Blayney Community Centre is hosted by Charles Sturt University (CSU), Blayney Shire Council and Lachlan Regional Transport Committee, with the support of Cowra, Harden, Weddin, and Young Shire Councils. Speakers include Mr Ed Zsombor, Director of Rail Services, Province of Saskatchewan, Canada; Mr Bryan Nye, CEO Australasian Railway Association; Mr Frank Lander, Senior Policy Officer, Department of Transport Victoria; and adjunct Associate Professor Ian Gray, ILWS.
A national meeting held in Melbourne April 17-18 debated what information Australia needs to meet its international obligations for its inland and coastal wetlands covered by the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
The meeting,e run by ILWS, featured keynote speaker and Deputy Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Professor Nick Davidson, who believes that, as a founding Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, "Australia continues to have strong formal commitments to the conservation and wise use of wetlands".
Environmental educators from across the Murray Darling Basin gathered CSU in Albury-Wodonga to describe their opportunities and problems and discuss collaborations in the coming year. The meeting, on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 April, was hosted by the Regional Centre for Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development (RCE-MD) based at CSU.
Pic from left to right: The Murray Darling Basin Authority education unit, with Dr John Rafferty Cherie Shearer, Clair Bannerman, Dr John Rafferty, Will Inveen (Director Education). Joanna Randall
The Institute's new Advisory Board had the opportunity to meet with the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sue Thomas at its first meeting held at the Albury-Wodonga campus, on Thursday, March 14.
Caption: Left to right (back row) Paul Ryan, Dr John Williams AO, Professor Max Finlayson, Professor Andrew Vann (front row) Barbara Hull, Professor Sue Thomas, Professor Kathleen Bowmer, Cathy McGowan AO, Lorne Butt, Nikki Scott
Meet our most famous, beautiful and iconic fresh water fish in an article by Dr Paul Humphries in The Conversation.
Research by ILWS researchers, including Professor John Hicks, into a decade of development in China provides little support for the so-called 'pollution haven' hypothesis and indicates that this is an inappropriate argument to be used against the introduction of pollution abatement measures, such as the carbon tax, in developed economies.
Two ILWS researchers, Associate Prof Rosemary Black and Dr Shelby Laird, want to learn more about what the residents of Thurgoona and Wirlinga on the north-east edge of Albury know and understand about conservation and the plants and animals that live in the area.
A national study investigating what people think of Australia's wild-catch commercial fishing industry has commenced. The two year study, Let's Talk Fish, has been funded by the Australian Government's Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and is being conducted by ILWS social researchers Dr Nicki Mazur and Professor Allan Curtis.
Honeybees are in trouble – a stressful lifestyle and an unhealthy diet are being compounded by mite attacks – but we needn't panic about pollination. Australia has many native bee (and other pollinator) species that could be taking care of business, if we only took better care of them says ILWS PhD candidate Manu Saunders in The Conversation
AUSTRALIA'S ability to become a food bowl feeding a fast-expanding Asia is being undermined by continued funding cuts to agricultural research. ILWS Adjunct Dr John Mullen and Mick Keogh from the Australian Farm Institute revealed to the Australian Agricultural Economics Society in Sydney this week, that as agricultural research spending has dropped since 2000, the ability of Australia's farmers to produce more food has stagnated. R
During her PhD research on Crested Terns, Dr Maggie Watson pioneered a method for collecting blood from chicks still in an egg. The technique involves enlarging the pipping hole, removing the chick's head to take blood from a jugular vein, and returning the chick into its original position in the egg to complete hatching back in the nest. Keep reading
An ILWS climate expert believes health authorities will need to do more to minimise the impacts of heatwaves on our health services, especially if the recent trend of rising average temperatures and more hot days continues as projected. Professor Kevin Parton was part of a team that investigated the effects of heat waves in Adelaide and Perth, both state capital cities in Australia that are particularly prone to hot, dry conditions.
Institute member Dr Bruce Fell from the School of Communication and Creative Industries wrote a piece for The Conversation titled "Bring the noise: has technology made us scared of silence?" December 30.
Anna celebrated her graduation on Friday 14 December with the exciting news she was selected as the Australian young scientist representative to attend the "Global Environmental Change and Human Health: Extreme Events and Urbanization in the Asia Pacific Region" program held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 14th-18th January 2013. She attended the symposium and training workshop for young scientists.
The importance and value of 'community resilience' in disaster management is the focus of new research in Australia and Bangladesh by ILWS economists, psychologists, and emergency management experts. ILWS's Professor of Economics John Hicks, said the research compared the realities and attitudes of flood-affected areas in Australia and Bangladesh in order to gain insights into how people from widely diverse circumstances cope with natural disasters.
Between the piece in New York Times, the lead article in New Scientist (You can register for free with New Scientist to read the article here) and all manner of featured blogs (including The Economist) as well as an American national radio station- NPR, millions now know about the real value of mistletoe.
A/Prof David Watson's research on the surprising benefits of mistletoe and its keystone role in maintaining healthy ecosystems featured in the New York Times Dec 17, 2012.
Social researcher Associate Prof Rosemary Black suggests that Australians, as they look for their next holiday destination overseas, consider a "sustainable tourism experience" with their visit contributing to the local community. Dr Black is the co-editor of a recently-released book that looks at how people living in developing countries benefit from a sustainable tourism industry.
Listen to Dr Black's interview on ABC Goulburn Murray FM
Nearly fifty people, including representatives from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) and various partner agencies, attended a special morning tea and presentation held on Tuesday, November 20 to celebrate the continued success of two exciting projects in the Murray-Darling Basin for the Institute's Sustainable Water Strategic Research Area.
Both projects are funded by CEWO and will monitor and assess the ecological responses to environmental watering in the Edward-Wakool and Murrumbidgee river systems during the 2012-2013 water year.
Partners in the Edward-Wakool project, led by A/Prof Robyn Watts are the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Murray Catchment Management Authority, Monash University, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Wakool River Association.
Partners in the Murrumbidgee project, led by Dr Skye Wassens, are the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and the University of NSW.
Both A/Prof Watts and Dr Wassens gave presentations on previous work done in the two river systems and on the current monitoring projects.
As well as the projects in the Edward-Wakool and the Murrumbidgee, CEWO is also funding similar monitoring projects in the Goulburn-Broken river system and Lower Murray.
ILWS PhD student Kylie Singh has written another evocative piece for The Conversation, this time focussing on invetebrates. Despite the fact they are all around us, that they form about 80% of known species on the planet, one-fifth are at risk of extinction which is the same as the proportion of threatened vertebrates.Read more in The Conversation
Twelve of our postgraduates students graduated early December at various graduation ceremonies across the CSU campuses. These include Dr Syliva Zukowski, Dr Anna Lukasiewicz , Dr Binod Devkota Dr Wendy Minato, all graduating from the School of Environmental Science and Dr Sabri-Matanagh who will receive his Doctorate of Business Administration.
During her research into the impacts of fishing regulations on the sustainability of Murray Crayfish (Euastacus armatus) in Australia, Dr Sylvia Zukowski has developed a number of startling suggestions to increase the long-term sustainability of this iconic species, including stopping the fishing for Murray Crayfish for up to five years, increasing community consultation and engagement, increasing compliance rates, decreasing the minimum size limit and maximum number of nets per campsite, and opening the fishing season later. Dr Zukowski filled large gaps in knowledge about Murray Crayfish, gathering biological data and ecological knowledge from local fishers to assess the impact of current fishing regulations on the sustainability of the species.
The Himalayan state of Nepal has been developing the concept of community forestry since the 1970s to improve forest management and reduce poverty among its rural people that depend on forests. However, the benefits from programs promoting community forestry have not always been distributed equitably within rural communities. In his project, Dr Binod Devkota analysed the variable outcomes of community forestry in three very different communities, and has increased understanding of how to refine support for government and international programs so that the benefits can be more widely shared in Nepalese communities.
ILWS Associate Professor Ian Lunt was interviewed by 3RRRs science show in Melbourne on Sun 2 Dec about his woodlands research and the annual ecological society of Australia conference, which was on 3-7 Dec. The show can be streamed from the link below. (listen to just past the 49minute mark to find his interview)
Institute researchers Prof Max Finlayson, Prof Kevin Parton, Dr Anna Lukasiewicz and Dr Jonathon Howard comment in a CSU media release after the Murray Darling Basin Plan was released on Thursday 22 November by federal Water Minister, The Hon Tony Burke, MP. They see it as a significant step in water reform in the Basin, but not the end of the journey.
On ABC Rural National News Insitute Director Professor Max Finlayson suggests the government may not be able to get all the water the Murray-Darling Basin plan requires for the environment. He doubts the upgrades will deliver that much water. "What we are relying on is being able to get water back into the river system through savings through environmental works and measures," he said. "And we are not saying some cannot be got back, some obviously can, but to get the whole lot we are not seeing enough analysis or figures to actually guarantee that we can get that."
A/Prof Ian Lunt looks at how livestock grazing can benefit biodiversity conservation in some places, but not others in his latest article in The Conversation, November 19
Two major monitoring projects, led by researchers from ILWS and funded by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office, will help governments and managers deliver environmental water to maximise environmental benefits in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Preview the ebook vesion "Food Security in Australia" edited by Quentin Farmar-Bowers, of Deakin University and ILWS researchers Dr Joanne Millar and A/Prof Vaughan Higgins, published by Springer, by clicking on the Free Preview link found here: http://www.springer.com/food+science/book/978-1-4614-4483-1
The Royal Anthropological Institute has published a list of the most influential publications in regional research over the last decade or so. A book he wrote with Geoff Lawrence: A Future for Regional Australia: Escaping Global Misfortune (Cambridge University Press, 2001) was listed as number 6. The book received 334 Google Scholar citations – putting it second in the list for the number of citations.
In a first for Australia, a new ILWS research network will be launched at CSU Wagga Wagga, on Thursday 8 November to focus on environmental justice and governance in Australia. The new group is part of ILWS's Strategic Research and will be known as the Environmental Justice and Governance for Social Change Strategic Research Area.
Food security has been flagged as one of the most serious issues to face the world in coming years, with predictions that by the year 2050 the world's population will hit nine billion. But what does food security mean? Is Australia, as a food exporting country, immune to food security issues? And why is it that more than a million Australian families suffer food insecurity?
Social researchers from Canada and the United States will join ILWS collaborators when they visit the NSW-Victorian Border region at the end of October to investigate how to build trust between communities prone to serious bushfires and fire management agencies.
Indonesia's commercial forestry sector needs to maintain good relationships with the communities that surround the forests. ILWS doctoral student, Ms Kristiana Wahyudiyati, is investigating how forestry companies can make their corporate behaviour more socially acceptable.
ILWS PhD candidate Kylie Williams says "Culling flying-foxes is ineffective, so why suggest slaughter?" in her recent article in The Conversation October 22
If you were a Murray Cod, what recommendations would you make for the management of the Murray Darling Basin to the water minister Tony Burke? An article by Dr Paul Humphries on looking at the Murray Darling through a native fish-eye lens appeared in The Conversation, Sept 29.
The first of the seminars to be presented at Charles Sturt University as part of the Murray Darling Seminar Series was very well supported with 40 people attending the seminar given by Institute Director Prof Max Finlayson, on Thursday, October 4, 2012.
Max's presentation, on 'Climate Change Adaptation for the Murray River' covered a number of areas including how climate change is expected to impact on wetlands along the Murray River; our different responses as we adapt to those impacts (adaptation includes the allocation of environmental water as well as various environmental works and measures designed to spread water across the wetlands, and allow it to drain, and fish to migrate); and a case study on the Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert at the mouth of the Murray to illustrate some of the quandaries faced.
Max emphasised that local communities and local Catchment Management Authorities needed to be more involved in management decisions as they do understand the 'big picture' issues. "Local communities need to be informed, engaged and resourced so they can contribute to the necessary management decisions," says Max. "Other countries are better at doing this than Australia. We do the science well but on many occasions miss out at the community level."
After the presentation, people had the opportunity to network and chat while they enjoyed a glass of CSU wine, beer/apple juice from Beechworth with breads and cheeses from Milawa and dips from the King Valley.
Leading water ecologist, ILWS Prof Max Finlayson believes the allocation of environmental water and various environmental works and measures designed to spread water across the wetlands will allow the environment of the Murray Darling Basin to adapt to climate change.
Congratulations to ILWS researcher Associate Professor Geoff Burrows who has been recognised by the Federal government Citation Awards for excellence in learning and teaching. Geoff received the award for 'sustained development of high quality interactive teaching resources that foster the independent learning of key botanical concepts'.
ILWS researcher Dr Paul Humphries says the Native Fish Strategy is at serious risk of winding up, after NSW announced it is cutting its financial contributions. Read more in his article in The Conversation, September 17.
is predicted to be around 50% in the next decade. Dr Emily Mendham was interviewed by the ABC Riverina Rural report on Sept 3 as a result of her involvement in the North East CMA the expert panel event on 30 July. The ILWS study undertaken last year by Dr Mendham and Social researcher Prof Allan Curtis assessed the impacts of changing land ownership in rural areas.
An ILWS expert on the carbon tax has hailed the federal government decision to join the European carbon trading scheme in 2015 as "just good economic sense". Professor Kevin Parton believes an emission trading scheme, where permits can be traded on the market like shares in a stock exchange with a fluctuating price, is better than a carbon tax with a fixed price, as businesses producing carbon have the appropriate incentive to limit their production of carbon.
Turtles are great evolutionary survivors. With their iconic shells and ponderously slow pace of life, they have plodded through 220 million years of natural selective pressures. "Do they have a chance to survive in a race against a tide of anthropogenic change?" asks ILWS PhD candidate Kylie Williams in an article in The Conversation
Institute members were part of a group of scientists putting a bid in for this proposed new CRC.
Would you still buy the cheapest photocopy paper if you knew the habitat of a threatened species was destroyed in the process? ILWS adjunct Barney Foran was interviewed on ABC Mornings recently about linking supermarket labelling with biodiversity conservation
Amidst all the heat and noise of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, the release of WWF's Ecological Footprint analysis for Australia in May went largely unheralded in the general media. The Environment Minister's media spinner would like this analysis. Headlines would trumpet: "Ecological Footprint Plummets and My Government's Policies Gain Traction" writes ILWS Adjunct Barney Foran in his article in The Conversation.
In recent weeks Australia's PM, a shadow minister, and a state premier have heralded the opportunities for Australian farmers to capitalise on a global food-shortage and, in particular, rising demand for high quality food amongst the middle classes in Asia. Prof Allan Curtis cautions the assumptions underlying these beliefs are problematic in his article in The Conversation.
The benefits of mistletoe are more than just a christmas kiss. It is a keystone species and a story apppeared in The Economist recently on A/Professor Dave Watson's research findings which are helping to raise the profile of its amazing properties.
ILWS PhD student Karolina Petrovic says there is a magic to possums, "the most successful marsupial in the world".
Although regarded as destructive pests that kill trees and devalue habitats, recent research by ILWS Associate Professor David Watson just published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, is revealing another side to these parasites. Their status as ecological keystones was strongly supported by a large-scale experiment in southern Australia, with woodlands losing more than a third of their resident woodland birds following mistletoe removal.
Findings from an ILWS survey of more than 500 landholders in the Wimmera have been included in the recommendations in the Wimmera CMA's new draft Regional Catchment Strategy. The Social Drivers of Natural Resource Management in the Wimmera Region study was undertaken by Prof Allan Curtis & Dr Emily Mendham.
The new Carbon Tax is a good first step in addressing Australia's high carbon emissions, "but we really need to introduce the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in 2015 for the carbon price to be an effective pollution deterrent," said senior ILWS economist, Professor Kevin Parton.
Young academic Nick Klomp wasn't sure how long he would stay when he first joined Charles Sturt University (CSU) in 1991. After all, this was his fifth university in nine years of study, research and teaching, and he had just returned to Australia after completing his PhD in Britain. But that was over 20 years ago, and Nick has grown to lead one of the largest faculties in Australia.
The tiny Southern Pygmy Perch, one of Australia's smallest freshwater fish and now listed as a threatened species in NSW, has its own champion, CSU Masters student and ILWS member, Luke Pearce. "The little guys really are in trouble," says Luke, a NSW Fisheries Conservation manager who is helping save the fish from extinction.
Much greater effort is needed if we are to stop the loss and degradation of the world's biodiversity according to the latest assessment report on the world's environment, the fifth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5), released on Wednesday 6 June.
Director of ILWS and Australian biodiversity expert, Professor Max Finlayson, was a co-ordinating lead author of the report's chapter on biodiversity. This chapter assessed the state and trends of biodiversity in a global context.
The tide of globalization drives development, providing jobs and much needed dollars. But development and trade consumes local biodiversity, much of it in the iconic diversity hotspots of tropical countries. ILWS researcher Barney Foran is a co-author of a letter in the Journal Nature and author of an opinion piece in The Conversation June 7.
Recent concerns about the state of the world's biodiversity by Institute director Prof Max Finalyson, coordinating lead author of the GEO-5 report's chapter on biodiversity and Institute adjunct Barney Foran, co-author of a letter the journal Nature, are echoed in the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Read more
Institute director Professor Max Finlayson is the co-author of a paper, with Professor Pierre Horwitz, "Water and Health: on the Notion of a Healthy Wetland" which was published in a Special Combined Issue of 'Human Evolution' and 'Global Bioethics' Vol. 27:1-3, 2012, entitled 'Human Evolution - Where We Are Now in the Twenty-First Century'. The paper was also published in a Special Edition of 'Global Bioethics' Vol.24:1-4, 2011. These academic journals, produced by International Institute of Humankind Studies based at the Anthropology Department of University of Florence, Italy, are available by private subscription only.
PhD student Patrick Cobbinah has a new paper out in International Journal of Social and Human Sciences on urban sprawl and the loss of per-urban land in Kumasi, Ghana. Kumsi is Ghana's second largest and fastest growing city with an annual population growth of 5.4%.
Dr Peter Simmons reports that players' attitudes to referee decisions are largely determined by their attitudes to the referee. The video interviews players and finds that they want referees to be competent, dependable and respectful.
A recent paper by ILWS researchers investigating the decline of woodland bird speciesin Southern Australia has found a decline in beetles and other insects is to blame.
ILWS Koori academic and Wiradjuri elder, Yalmambirra believes that 20 years on from the High Court's Mabo decision, nothing has changed for his people. R
The Coorong Wetlands : can they adapt to the changing climate and water availability? Are there limits? New NCCAF report prepared by ILWS has been released. Link to report
ILWS researchers have found the release of 'environmental water' from dams at selected times in 2011 had significant benefits for wetland plants and animals in the mid- Murrumbidgee wetlands.
Just out is the final report from the team of ILWS researchers who were engaged by Commonwealth Environmental Water to monitor the ecological response to the environmental water release that took place in the Murrumbidgee River in June 2011. The team, led by Dr Skye Wassens, spent 10 months monitoring wetland communities from Tumut to Carrathool looking at the response of river and wetland communities before, during and after the water is released from Burrinjuck and Blowering Dams. They found the release resulted in improved water quality; increased native fish diversity; an increased abundance of wetland frog species; conditions that allowed for successful fledging of certain waterbird species; increased aquatic vegation cover and species diversity; and benefits from reduced biomass of biofilms. Read More
Dr Peter Spooner, Institute member and expert in biodiversity conservation and the environmental history of TSRs, has hailed the recent announcement of federal government funding that supports the future management of Travelling Stock Routes (TSRs) in the Riverina.
Institute adjunct Prof Kath Bowmer has published a monograph with the EH graham Centre titled "Water Resource Protection in Australia: Water Quality and Quantity as a Feature of Agricultural Land Management Systems." Download PDF
Professor Kevin Parton, an expert commentator on the economic and social effects of the water transfer, presented the latest research findings into the the trade-offs involved in the proposed transfer of water to the environment in the proposed Murray Darling Basin Plan at a public lecture on Friday 20 April in Orange, NSW.
Dr Alison Matthews has welcomed the addition of koalas in Queensland, NSW, and the ACT to the national threatened species list. She has been researching koalas for almost 20 years and said the move will provide more protection for this iconic Australian animal. (pic by Michael Elliot)
Authorities have failed to fulfil obligations to protect wetlands in Gippsland in south-east Victoria, despite signing an international agreement to do so. ILWS Prof Max Finlayson, adviser to Ramsar, comments on ABCs Lateline
It's not every day that you get recognised as a "Hero of Australian Science" but Institute adjunct Professor Kathleen Bowmer has found herself with that title in a new series of educational books aimed at upper primary level school children.
Kath joins three other prominent names in Australian science, Tim Flannery, David Lindenmayer, and John Church, in the book by Jane Fitzpatrick on Environmental Science in the new series, "Heroes of Australian Science" published by Macmillan Education Australia. Read More
Kath, who is an Adjunct Professor of Water Policy with CSUs School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences, has been recognised for her work in improving the management of water flows through inland rivers to improve water quality, particularly in the Murray Darling Basin. Her work was particularly important in addressing the 'blue-green algae' scares in the Darling River during the 1990s, and in developing Australia's first water sharing plan along the Murrumbidgee River in the 2000s.
Research by ILWS Masters of Philosophy student Luke Pearce aims to help the survival of a tiny native fish once found throughout the southern part of the Murray Darling Basin, and CSU is also providing a home for this battler.
Professor Kevin Parton's piece in the on-line forum The Conversation on May 2 titled "Australia to hit 2012 Kyoto target, but don't get excited" had over 1000 hits within a few days of the piece going out. In it he says that the recent announcement that Australia was on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol target for greenhouse gas emissions was an indication of satisfactory performance, not an exemplary outcome. The target is 108% of 1990 emissions over 2008-2012; that is, an actual increase in emissions.
Institute member Dr Paul Humphries has written an interesting piece titled ' Why we will make mistakes managing the Murray-Darling and why that's OK ' which appeared in the on-line forum The Conversation on May 2. The piece is certainly getting plenty of hits and interest.
The Global Environmental Outlook Report #5 will be released on June 6. ILWS Director Prof Max Finlayson is a lead author in Chapter 5 Biodiversity. In the meantime check out the GEO publication Keeping Track of our changing environment which graphically illustrates global changes over the past twenty years since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
ILWS was invited by ABC's Catalyst program to sell our science last year. In association with CSU Media we produced two short video clips on the work of two ILWS researchers A/Prof David Watson and PhD student Karolina Petrovic which are now live on the Catalyst website.
A new report, Economic and Cultural Values of Water to the Ngarrindjeri People of the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth has been released. Institute adjunct Dr Jim Birckhead says "this joint effort between ILWS, Flinders University, Ngarrandjeri Regional Authority and River Consulting for CSIRO, focuses on Indigenous Values of water in the heightened debate about the water and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan."
An academic paper, "Valuing Biodiversity Using Habitat Types" highlighting the greater value people place on wetlands near the Coorong in South Australia compared to surrounding bushlands has been awarded the Eric Anderson award for best article in the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management by environment academics from Australia and New Zealand.
Co-authored by ILWS Associate Director and senior environmental economist Professor Mark Morrison, and Dr Darla Hatton MacDonald from CSIRO, the research showed that people around the Coorong, in the capital Adelaide and elsewhere in South Australia were willing to pay much more money to protect the wetlands than scrublands or grassy woodlands in the same region.
Professor Morrison and Dr Hatton MacDonald received their award on Wednesday 28 September at the annual conference of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane.
A major global report, co-authored by the Institute's Director, highlights healthy ecosystems as the basis for sustainable water resources and stable food security for people around the world, including Australia.
"Healthy ecosystems help produce more food per hectare of agricultural land, are more resilient to climate change and produce more economic benefits for poor communities," says Professor Max Finlayson.
The report, An Ecosystems Approach to Water and Food Security, which was launched on Tuesday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Water Management Institute and 19 collaborating institutions, including ILWS, during World Water Week, August 21 - 27 in Sweden .
"How we manage and invest in the connections between ecosystems, water and food could help us avoid water scarcity and meet the growing food demands of a global population tipped to reach nine billion by 2050," Professor Finlayson said.
"Diversifying our crops, planting trees on farms and improving rainwater collection are important practical steps we can take to improve these connections."
A free public lecture at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Dubbo on Wednesday 10 August explored the growing awareness that many of the procedures routinely used to manage water resources can be inappropriate for Australian landscapes. Head of Campus, Dr Bev Moriarty, said the public lecture, titled Water, Drought and Climate Change, wa presented by renowned ILWS wetland scientist Professor David Mitchell.
The wealth derived from Eastern Australia's grazing and crop farms has come at a price to both the natural environment and sustainable agriculture. ILWS researchers A/Prof Ian Lunt and PhD student Ian Cole along with CSIROs Dr Suzanne Prober have found that a spoon full sugar can is a sweet restorative for native woodland grasses. Tanya Ha from the ABC's Catalyst program took a stroll down the paddock to look at this grass roots research. Link to transcript
This unique book, published in electronic form and launched in June, brings together 27 chapters from some of the world's leading practitioners and experts on environmental water, law, communities, economics and governance.
ILWS researchers have contributed to the book and their work includes a chapter co-authored by ILWS Director Prof Max Finlayson and Dr Jamie Pittock from ANU, on Freshwater Ecosystem Conservation: Principles versus policy, a chapter by Associate Director Prof Mark Morrison and adjunct Dr Darla Hatton MacDonald, Multiple Benefits through the Life Cycle of the Basin Plan and and an introduction to the Basin Understanding the Basin and its Dynamics by adjunct Dr John Williams. Download the book for free
A team of ILWS researchers from the Institute's Sustainable Water Strategic Research Area have been engaged to monitor the responses from the largest release of water ever used to maintain the ecological health of the Murrumbidgee River.
The team, led by Dr Skye Wassens, will spend the next 10 months monitoring wetland communities from Tumut to Carrathool looking at the response of river and wetland communities before, during and after the water is released from Burrinjuck and Blowering Dams.
"Our focus is to measure the changes in water quality and the movement of carbon in the wetlands next to the river, as well as the response of frog and fish communities, and aquatic plants that also indicate the environmental health of these wetlands" says Dr Wassens of the exciting opportunity. "This data will generate knowledge to assist environmental water managers and dam operators better predict future ecological responses to large releases of environmental water from dams."
Over 150 gigalitres of water is currently being delivered to wetlands along the Murrumbidgee River that flows across southern NSW.
"The Murrumbidgee is highly regulated by large dams which results in far fewer natural floods, " says Dr Wassens. "This has caused a significant decline of wetlands along the river, particularly the River Red gum forests that line the river and wetlands. Watering is critical to ensure the full recovery of wetland plants and animals which were under severe stress after years of drought Also involved in the project, which has been funded by the NSW Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DESEWPC), are Dr Wassens fellow Sustainable Water SRA members A/Prof Robyn Watts and Drs Julia Howitt and Alex Zander, and ILWS cross-centre member Dr Andrew Hall . The project team is working in close partnership with staff from DESEWPC, NSW Department of Environment and Heritage, NSW Office of Water, and landholders. Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Hon. Tony Burke, MP has hailed the water release as "largest use of Commonwealth environment water that has occurred to date".
An endangered native fish has been introduced to artificial wetlands on Charles Sturt University (CSU)'s Albury-Wodonga Campus in a bid to conserve the species and allow them to breed up for their reintroduction into major inland rivers in the Murray Darling Basin.
Institute researcher Mr Luke Pearce, who is completing a Master of Science with the School of Environmental Sciences, is investigating how the Southern Pygmy Perch can be reintroduced into its former habitat in the Lachlan, Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers.
"This tiny perch was once found in many inland waterways across South Eastern Australia. It is thought nearly all populations within NSW have disappeared since the 1970s, possibly due to river regulation, prolonged droughts, poor water quality, loss of habitat and competition and predation from introduced fish species such as Red Fin," said Mr Pearce, who is a fisheries conservation manager with NSW Department of Primary Industries.
Wander through many woodlands in southern Australia these days and they are much quieter than they were 50 years ago. The birds are disappearing.
One of Australia's leading bird ecologists, ILWS lead researcher Associate Professor David Watson, believes he has some answers, which may have implications for Australian agriculture.
The numbers of woodland birds in southern Australia have been in decline for some years, but finding sound reasons for these declines and devising management solutions to arrest them have defied scientists, says Professor Watson.
"Australia's northern forests still abound with most of the birds that were first seen by Europeans over one hundred years ago. "But in some southern forests, the silence can be deafening ..."
Red Capped Robin, Stud Creek, Sturt National Park, NSW. Photo: Tom Rambaut
Major Australian cities face decreasing drinkable water, increasing traffic congestion and pollution problems by 2050 if immediate changes are not made to current government policy, says Mr Barney Foran, an ILWS research fellow.
Mr Foran is also concerned that Sydney, Melbourne and Perth could grind to a halt if the predictions of 'peak oil' are reached in the next 20 years.
And he warns that the current Federal policy to encourage a larger Australia population growth is putting future Australians on the road to a more constrained future.
"Multimillion dollar plans to restructure and rebuild Sydney, Melbourne and Perth have already been developed. However, the immediacy of natural disasters such as fires, floods and cyclones in recent months remind us of the growing risks facing Australians in a changing climate and that longer-term plans may be 'put on the backburner' while day-to-day recovery projects receive priority."
Mr Foran believes that if Australia transitions to a relatively stable population of between 26 and 28 million people in 2050, the nation will be more resilient to future economic and environmental shocks.
"A smaller Australia could live within its means, repair its rivers and soil and limit its loss of biodiversity. But few of our political leaders will dare talk about this other Australia unless they take a longer view of where Australia is going, rather than just winning the next election."
Mr Foran's concerns arise from his recent paper published this month in the journal People and Place looking at Australia's energy, water, biodiversity and land resources in the face of a major increase in population by 2050.
Bigger Australia - Opinion Piece
Ecologist A/Prof David Watson and botanical artist Robyn Hulley have joined forces for a new book on mistletoe, Mistletoes of Southern Australia, published by CSIRO Publishing. The book will launched on Friday, February 25, at Domain House, next to the Melbourne Botanic Gardens at 5.00pm. There will be an exhibition of 25 of Robyn's original illustrations as well as an exhibition of work by Rebecca Mayo, a mixed media artist and print-maker whose work features mistletoes. The book is a beautifully illustrated comprehensive guide to half of Australia's 91 known mistletoe species. It contains over 100 color photographs, most of which were taken by A.Prof Watson who also has a strong interest in photography and 51 of Robyn Hulley's watercolour illustrations. It is a thorough and up-to-date summary of current knowl-edge and the biology, ecology and management of mistletoes in Australia. The book has a recommended retail price of $49.95 and is from bookstores, order online from CSIRO PUBLISHING direct: www.publish.csiro.au or local call 1300 788 000.
Research undertaken by the Institute's Associate Prof Gary Luck and Lisa Smallbone appeared on the December 1Britannica Blogog feature written by the encyclopedia's Kara Rogers. Science up Front which began in 2009 explores the latest advances in science, from medicine to nanotechnology to conservation, through first-hand interviews with researchers.
"What is interesting about bird distribution patterns and human settlements is that humans tend to settle in regions that support or have supported a disproportionately large number of bird species," says Gary in this blog. "There is a strong positive correlation between human population density and bird species richness at large scales. However, at smaller scales we generally find that human settlements contain fewer bird species than nearby natural areas." (Gary and Lisa's recent work indicates that urbanization has varying, though often detrimental, effects on avian diversity.) Link to the feature
New Holland Honey Eaters (Photo by Ashley Herrod)
Research by Institute river ecology researcher Associate Professor Robyn Watts in the upper reaches of rivers in eastern Australia is casting new light on how water released from dams can be better managed to improve the ecological health of the river while also achieving social and economic objectives.
Professor Watts, who is one of Australia's leading researchers on the relationships between river flows and ecology, says that by altering how we operate dams in Australia we can optimise agricultural objectives, ecosystem outcomes, hydropower and flood risk management.
"Changing the way water is released from dams can result in water savings and environmental benefits. Dam operations can be improved by altering the pattern of water transfer between dams, changing the delivery of stock and domestic water, and transferring water from dams to underground aquifers before the irrigation season to improve the timing of water releases from dams," says Professor Watts. "By altering the way water is transferred between dams and weirs we can improve in-stream ecological condition without increasing the volume of water released."
The video can also be found here - Video: Robyn Watts river research (34286 KB)
Four Institute members, including Institute director, Prof Max Finlayson, are among the 58 key Australian environmental scientists who have issued a new Scientific Consensus Statement about the proposed Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The scientists are concerned that short-term negative social and economic impacts have dominated the debate surrounding the recently released guide to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and that there has been little consideration of the long-term benefits of a healthy river system.
One of the key points of scientific consensus is that the central issue is the combined long-term welfare of the environment and the human communities that it supports with the costs and benefits of re-adjustment to be shared among all Australians. Benefits include improved 'goods and services', such as more reliable water supplies, better quality water for irrigation, flooding for grazing, improved fishing and new opportunities for tourism.
A research team led by the Institute's Associate Director Prof Mark Morrison have been successful in receiving a highly competitive ARC Linkage grant for a research project aimed at helping improve the uptake rate and success of Indigenous enterprises.
The three year project "Determining the Factors Influencing the Success of Private and Community-owned Indigenous Businesses across Remote, Regional and Urban Australia" has attracted more than $450,000 worth of funding and will be undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team of academics from Charles Sturt University, University of Technology Sydney and the University of Newcastle.
Industry partners in the project, which starts next year, are Indigenous Business Australia and the Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre. The project team includes Prof Dennis Foley, University of Newcastle, Prof Jock Collins, University of Technology, Sydney, Dr PK Basu, CSU and Dr Branka Krivokapic-Skoko, CSU.
The project will collect information about the current types of Indigenous Enterprises, factors influencing their success, and programs that could be provided to assist with their establishment and development.
"The main benefit of this project is a thorough understanding of the challenges facing Indigenous Enterprises in a range of geographical, economic and social settings," says Prof Morrison.
Prof Morrison was also part of an ILWS research team nominated for the 2010 B-HERT awards in the "Best Collaboration with a regional focus" category for its collaboration with the energy industry to reduce energy use in regional Australia. The team, which included Ms Jodie Kleinschafer, Dr Rod Duncan and Prof John Hicks has worked with Country Energy in regional NSW since 2005 to identify important factors in reducing electricity use in households. Part of the research was also part of Jodie's PhD which was recently submitted.
Jodie Kleinschafer (left) and Prof Mark Morrison at the B-HERT Awards night held at The Arts Centre in Melbourne, November 4. Picture by Leisa Hunt
The researchers have also developed a method to help Country Energy identify which types of households were more likely to modify their electicity use, and how this interest varies across household types.
And, as well, Prof Morrison has been receiving plenty of media coverage for a report he has co-written with CSIROs Dr Darla Hatton MacDonald titled "Economic Valuation of Environmental Benefits in the Murray Darling Basin", which derives benefit estimates for changes in environmental quality for each of the catchments in the Murray-Darling Basin for use in the cost-benefit analysis of the Basin Plan. This report is also described in detail in Volume 2 of the Basin Plan. The report can be found at the following web address: http://www.mdba.gov.au/files/bp-kid/1282-MDBA-NMV-Report-Morrison-and-Hatton-MacDonald-20Sep2010.pdf
It's one thing to do a quick interview on camera for a TV news broadcast but quite another to be filmed for a segment for the ABC's leading science show, Catalyst, as the Institute's A/Prof Ian Lunt has discovered. The crew from Catalyst spent two days in September filming for a story on Ian, CSIRO's Dr Suzanne Prober and PhD student Ian Cole's research project on restoring Grassy Whitebox Woodlands understoreys using grazing, fire management and sugar applications. "The key message we wanted to give is that woodlands are an endangered ecosystem, greatly in need of improved management and restoration, and that controlling high nutrient levels is a really important issue for their conservation. (Picture) Dr Suzanne Prober with film crew from Catalyst
The release of the Guide to the Draft Murray Darling Basin Plan certainly attracted much interest and opportunity for members to add to the debate via the media. The Institute has been active in making sure that the voice of the environment is heard. A number of media releases have gone out and have been picked up the national and regional media.
The wetlands and rivers of the Murray Darling Basin are vital for maintaining the livelihoods and well-being of the people and the health of the landscapes that support these people. We are in a period of change and we need to adapt as we embrace the options and opportunities for the communities that live in the Basin and sustain its social, economic and ecological fabric," says Director of the ILWS, Professor Max Finlayson.
New research shows that the Australian Government risks breaching international law if it does not fully protect wetlands listed under an international treaty in its forthcoming Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
ILWS senior business researcher Professor Kevin Parton says the release of the Guide to the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) Plan marks the "start of a process by which we can put things right in the Basin".
The state of ever-changing rural societies in Australia and overseas are topics for three books launched on Monday 18 October. Leading researchers from ILWS have shown the breadth of their research expertise in editing and writing three books incorporating their work.
Nick, who is also the secretary general of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, was awarded the International Fellow Award for 2010 by the Society of Wetland Scientists. The award, given every two years to individual wetland scientists for their long-term contribution to wetland science, was announced at the Society's recent conference in Salt Lake City. Nick follows Prof David Mitchell who received the award in 2003 and Prof Max Finlayson who received it in 2005. "For me it was a considerable surprise, as while I used to be a wetland scientist, much of my focus for the past 10 to 15 years has been on the issue of understanding the science and translating that into policy relevance," says Nick. "For me working with wetland research science and making sure it is available for policy makers and decision makers is very important."
Pic L to R) Nick Davidson, Max Finlayson and David Mitchell.
A workshop which focussed on climate change adaptation options for sustainably managing wetlands in the Murray –Darling Basin now and into the future has identified many of the key issues and challenges facing the Basin and policy makers.
Organised by the Institute and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) the workshop was was held at CSIRO, Black Mountain, in Canberra on July 12 and 13.
It was attended by 18 technical and water management experts including representatives from the Murray Darling Basin Authority, NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water, CSIROs Water for a Healthy Country Flagship and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
"Wetlands in the Basin are already under intense pressure from past and current management practices, including water allocations, and the drought," said Institute director Professor Max Finlayson. "Climate change is expected to exacerbate all these issues and further complicate how we manage our wetlands with large parts of the Basin, particularly in the south-east, expected to be warmer and drier in the future." Read more
A/Prof Dirk Spennemann has a new photographic exhibition "1000 Prayers – War in the Pacific" that opens at the Benalla Art Gallery on July 10 and runs until August 15. The exhibition features poignant war sites from around the world including Sadako Sasaki's memorial in Hiroshima.
Dirk writes: "In August 1945 the US dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending the Second World War. Sadako Sasaki was two years old when a nuclear bomb exploded a mile from her home. As she sickened from radiation-induced leukaemia, Sadako began folding origami cranes, inspired by the Japanese legend that if you folded 1000 paper cranes, you could be granted one wish. She did not complete her task before she died, aged 12.
With the unleashing of the atom bomb human warfare reached a level of technological prowess capable of destroying the Earth as a habitable planet. Yet out of this was also born a hope that new generations would step back from the brink. The photographs in this exhibition evoke the lasting effects of war, and its continuing presence as a part of our daily lives. The photos, taken through the viewfinder of a 1940s camera, capture images in the contemporary landscape which echo the horrors of past wars but which also reflect a hope for peace—a hope evocatively symbolised by Sadako Sasaki's memorial in Hiroshima where each years schoolchildren garland her statue with thousands of paper cranes—each one a prayer for peace."
An award-winning website that helps learners recognise the finer points of living plants has won international recognition. Dr Geoff Burrows has been awarded the 2010 CE Bessey Award from the Botanical Society of America for his contributions to teaching botany to undergraduate university students, many of whom complete his subjects by distance education. Dr Burrows says it is gratifying to receive this recognition from an international society of botanists. "It shows that Charles Sturt University students are receiving a world-class introduction to their education in plant science," R
In the lead up to the Murray Darling Basin Authority's highly anticipated draft Basin Plan, The Wentworth Group has released a report on sustainable diversions which identifies the scale of reductions in diversions required within each of the 18 Catchments of the Basin. It analyses the most cost-effective way to obtain the necessary water and looks at how to assist businesses and communities in the Basin to adapt to a future with less water.
David Mitchell wetland ecologist and adjunct professor of ILWS responds:
"The report is balanced, appropriate and scientifically sound. Its recommendations are achievable and take sufficient account of the inherent seasonable variability of land-water interactions in Australian river catchments. However, like all reports of this nature it is very important that its recommendations are subjected to critical appraisal and applied thoughtfully and sensibly on a year to year basis.
Moreover, it is important to recognize that sustainable management of rivers and their catchments is much more than allocation of water! Natural interactions between land and water also require informed and insightful management if the ecosystems, of which they are the basis, are to survive the increasing demands of a growing human population as well as that of the other biota that inhabit our landscapes."
For the Wentworth Group Report: Sustainable Diversions in the Murray-Darling Basin
The transition of Australia's economy to the low carbon status required by greenhouse stabilisation targets will transform landuse, society and economic enterprise in much of regional Australia. By 2050, keeping Australia mobile will require 20-50 million hectares of dedicated wood or lignocellulose production to provide petrol/diesel substitutes even assuming that many urban cars become electric. Wind and solar farms producing renewable electricity need relatively large areas within currently farmed regions where land is relatively cheap. The scale of the transformation is well beyond the project by project mentality of current policy. Some of the work is reported in a 2009 Powerful Choices report for Land and Water Australia. The work currently focuses on detailing the whole-economy implications of a fully renewable-energy economy by 2030 under normal-growth and low-growth scenarios. For the full report go to http://lwa.gov.au/files/products/innovation/pn30178/pn30178.pdf
ILWS researcher Associate Professor Gary Luck has been named an ARC Future Fellows by the Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr. A/Prof Gary Luck, is an ecologist basd at CSU at Albury-Wodonga and among 200 outstanding national and international mid-career researchers named in the first group of prestigious Future Fellows. He'll lead projects over five years worth $686,400.
Associate Professor Luck's Fellowship will facilitate his work on Integrating the conservation and ecosystem-service value of Australia's Catchments. He has an interest in a broad range of topics including developing conservation strategies for native fauna in agricultural landscapes, examining the role of vertebrates in providing ecosystem services and understanding the importance of changes in population diversity to service provision. He is also interested in biogeographic patterns in species assemblages and their relationships to human settlement patterns, and human impacts on biodiversity. He has studied or worked at five universities including a two–year postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University in California.
Congratulations to all who received a Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence including our two ILWS recipients, A/Prof Gary Luck from the School of Environmental Science who won the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence; and Dr Jennifer Sappey from the School of Social Sciences and Liberal Studies who won one of two Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence.
Gary was nominated by Prof Nick Klomp, the Dean of the Faculty of Science for his "outstanding contribution to the research profile of Charles Sturt University." Gary, who joined CSU in 2003, is an ecologist with research interests in the conservation and management of endangered fauna in agricultural landscapes, the relationship between human demographics and biodiversity, and the role of species in providing ecosystem services. Within the research field of biodiversity conservation he has contributed to new knowledge on ecosystem services, and conservation near human settlements. Since 2006 Gary has secured external grant funding of over $1.1m (including three ARC grants). Seven of his top 10 publications are in journals with an ERA ranking of A* or A and he is a major contributor to international research collaborations including a European Union 6th Framework Program project. He has supervised seven PhD students (two completed and five on-going) and makes significant effort to mentor early career researchers.
Jenny, a lecturer in sociology at Bathurst, is a member of the Institute's Economic and Regional Development group. In 2007 to 2008 she was the team leader of an ERD project Mapping the Aged Care Industry and Ageing Issues in Central West NSW, as part of the Institute's commitment to researching demographic change. Jenny teaches in the areas of spatial inequality and social identity which encompasses issues such as ageing, gender, ethnicity and differences in access to economic, social and environmental resources across regions and international. "There is a strong nexus between this teaching and our ILWS research with a common theme running throughout – the significance of consumption, difference and inequality on issues of long term economic, social and environmental sustainability," says Jenny who was recognised for supporting the needs of her School, providing ongoing leadership to her colleagues, her commitment to education and her cutting edge approach to blended learning.
It's 20 years since Rural Society, the journal of research into rural and regional social issues, began life as the Rural Welfare Research Bulletin. Since 1989 the articles published in Rural Society have covered some enduring themes such as rural justice, multiculturalism, women in the workforce, gender equality, rural transport and access to services. Read more
International recognition for his expertise in wetland management has led to the reappointment of Institute director Professor Max Finlayson to the Scientific and Technical Review Panel for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands from 2009 to 2012. Professor Finlayson will be specialising in the effects of climate change on wetlands and water, and the social and economic effects on people who rely on them.