Project start date: 01/02/2023
Project end date: 30/10/2024
NESP funding: $333,000 (GST-exclusive)
National parks and other protected areas are essential to solve the species-extinction crisis and restore biodiversity and resilient landscapes. This project is addressing urgent questions for the management of Commonwealth national parks and provide tools and case studies to benefit research users in other places.
Australia has committed to protecting 30% of its lands and seas by 2030. Making sure our existing protected areas, including national parks, are resilient will play a vital role in meeting our global commitments to protecting biodiversity.
Commonwealth national parks include World Heritage areas, Ramsar sites and priority places under the Australian Government’s Threatened species action plan 2022–2032. To make sure our national parks are resilient into the future, we need strategic prioritisation of management activities, informed by rigorous monitoring and evaluation, targeted research on critical gaps in our knowledge about species and systems, and development and testing of new technologies and methods for monitoring and management.
Key research areas
To address these challenges and enhance the resilience of Australia’s national parks, this project is:
This project is working across 3 Commonwealth national parks. Image: Resilient Landscapes Hub.
Accurate monitoring is crucial for detecting trends in plants and animals, and their responses to management. This project component is designing a new flora and fauna monitoring program for Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, a World Heritage Site that is managed jointly with Aṉangu Traditional Owners. The new monitoring program will address a series of principles that recognise the intertwined cultural and natural values of the park.
The new monitoring program design will be of immediate benefit to the park by being used for future surveys. It will also have the potential to be scaled up to other areas in central Australia. The case studies and analytical tools produced can be applied to other protected areas and regions of Australia.
This project component is being led by Dr Darren Southwell from the University of Newcastle.
This project component will develop a monitoring program for flora and fauna at Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Photo: Patch Clapp.
Map of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Image: Resilient Landscapes Hub.
Acoustic monitoring has great potential for monitoring animals more effectively. Equipment to record animal calls is readily available and can collect large amounts of information over long periods of time. However, the management, processing and interpretation of the raw data can be challenging.
This component of the project will address these challenges for a specific group of priority threatened species – the endemic forest birds and flying fox of Christmas Island. These findings will be scaled up to determine what roles acoustic monitoring could have in Christmas Island National Park and other parks.
This project component is being led by Professor Paul Roe from QUT and Professor Lin Schwarzkopf from James Cook University.
The Christmas Island white-eye is endemic to the forests of Christmas Island. Photo: Mark Lethlean.
Map of Christmas Island National Park. Image: Resilient Landscapes Hub.
Phillip Island, part of Norfolk Island National Park and listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List, presents a range of challenges and opportunities for conservation management. The island’s biodiversity is slowly recovering after the removal of rabbits, pigs and goats, and it supports several threatened species.
There are important decisions to be made about the strategic management of Phillip Island, including about priority species, restoration and conservation interventions. This component of the project will conduct analysis to contribute to the development of a management strategy for Phillip Island. This strategy will be highly relevant to other conservation and restoration initiatives on islands.
This project component is being led by Professor David Pannell from The University of Western Australia.
The threatened Kermadec petrel makes its home on Phillip Island, part of Norfolk Island National Park. Photo: Stuart Cohen/Bottlebrush Media.
Map of Norfolk Island National Park. Image: Resilient Landscapes Hub.
The project is being led by Professor Matthew Hayward from the University of Newcastle. Project component 1 is being led by Dr Darren Southwell from the University of Newcastle. Project component 2 is being led by Professor Paul Roe from QUT and Professor Lin Schwarzkopf from James Cook University. Project component 3 is being led by Professor David Pannell from The University of Western Australia.
This project will contribute to 2 cross-cutting initiatives: