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Theme 3. Threats: Building Resilience for Evolving Threats

Leaders: Dr Tara Martin, CSIRO & University of Queensland, and Prof Mark Burgman, University of Melbourne

This theme aims to make the concept of resilience to threat operational using a combination of field research, decision theory, population and climate impact modelling, collaborative syntheses, systematic reviews, expert elicitation, fore-sighting and integration of dynamic threat data, biodiversity data and socio-economic data into planning processes.

The research from this theme will assist and improve Departmental programs including Parks and Biodiversity Science programs; Marine conservation and protected area planning; and Australian Antarctic Strategic planning.

Projects:

Project people

3.1     Operational definitions and measures of resilience in conservation.
Leader: Prof. Richard Hobbs, UWA
Effective management that anticipates change requires effective measures of resiliance. This project will address the fundamental questions of how to define, measure and predict reiliance in ecosystems. 

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3.2     Building Resilient (lasting) Biodiversity Assets.  Managing for persistence of species, ecosystems and cultural assets through priority threat management. 
Leader: Dr Tara Martin, CSIRO
We will identify "rules of thumb" for managing the long-term persistence of threatened species and for controlling invasive species and disease using a decision theoretic approach.

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3.3a   The role of large scale connectivity projects in conserving biodiversity under multiple threats including habitat loss and climate change. Is connectivity conservation the most effective tool?
Leader: Dr Brendan Wintle, UM; Prof. Hugh Possingham, UQ & Dr Richard Fuller, UQ
We will develop assessment methodolgies to evaluate connectivity conservation proposals in the context of the range of other strategies that can be implemented to achieve conservation outcomes at a bioregional and national level. A key challenge is in reconcilling assessment methods across multiple performance criteria that may not be commensurable.

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  3.3b   Conserving migratory species that move beyond Australia's borders. Measuring drivers of decline in migrants and evaluating conservation options. 
Leaders:Dr Richard Fuller, UQ
We will establish how threats located beyond Australia's borders can affect migratory species that visit Australia. We will evaluate conservation options and measure the benefits of international co-operation for conserving migratory species.

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  3.4     Evaluating the role of fine scale habitat connectivity in resilient populations. 
Leader: Dr Don Driscoll, ANU
Dispersal is poorly understood but is crucial to ecosystem resilience. We aim to discover how dispersal influences resilience to the threats of fire, habitat loss and fragmentation.

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3.5     The role and management of refugial habitats. 
Leader: Prof. David Lindenmayer, ANU
Refugia may play a critical role in ecosystem resilience to disturbance and climate change.

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3.6     Horizon scanning. 
Leader: Prof Mark Burgman, UM
Planning for resilient biodiversity assets requires advance warning of significant new and emerging threats and management options (foresighting).

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3.7     National Reserve System (NRS) efficiency analysis, marine and terrestrial, including reserve acquisition versus improved management of existing reserves. 
Leader: Prof. Hugh Possingham
Consider and review the NRS's system for prioritising proposals for acqusition. Work with Tim Bond on their evaluation of proposals from states. Scoping out options for evaluating the biodiversity benefits of protected areas (build on work by Martin and Watson). Both public and private protected areas play an important role in the national reserve system, and funding is required for both acquisition and ongoing management. This project will develop decision support tools that explore the costs, benefits and risks of public/private protected areas acquisition and ongoing management.

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