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Strengthening science for Australian ecosystems

Media release 27 March 2014

Today in Canberra scientists, environmental managers, students, policy makers and others will gather for the final in a national series of ‘town hall’ meetings to develop a new long term plan for ecosystem science in Australia.

Led by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) and the Australian Academy of Science, the consultations have been the first in Australia to bring together people from diverse backgrounds to plan for the future of Australian ecosystem science.

Over the past year, hundreds of students, scientists, policy makers, environmental managers, academics, industry consultants and concerned citizens across the country have contributed through surveys, meetings, and submissions.

The process will conclude with a plan to better understand and manage the processes, flora and fauna that combine to make up Australia’s unique ecosystems, from oceans to coasts and landscapes.

TERN Director Professor Tim Clancy said: “We’re proud to be a part of this transformative movement, building a vision and strategy for the future of Australian ecosystem science that truly represents the perspectives of this diverse professional community, and that inspires and supports our advancement into the future.

“It’s clear that ecosystem science is critical for addressing national challenges facing Australia, and the collaborative development of this strategy will ensure we have clear plans for sustaining and strengthening ecosystem science in the long-term, to deliver for the wider Australian community.”

Nigel Andrew of the ESA commented: “It is timely to have a wide range of people from a variety of backgrounds coming together to collaborate and develop the Ecosystem Science Long-Term Plan.

“One of the key aims of the ESA is to foster the conservation and management of native ecosystems, and we are excited to see the success of this process as it unfolds - collectively we are building a solid foundation for the future of ecosystem science in Australia.”

Australian Academy of Science President, Professor Suzanne Cory, said it was important to involve both scientists and the broader community in the plan to manage Australia’s unique ecosystems.

“Australia’s natural heritage is extremely important, and it’s vital that we include all stakeholders in devising a workable plan to ensure it’s managed to the very best of our abilities,” she said.

Following today’s final meeting in the consultation process, a collaborative working group will review all submissions and devise an Ecosystem Science Long-Term Plan.

The plan will articulate collective priorities, essential activities and strategies necessary for strengthening ecosystem science in the long-term.

For more information on the forthcoming Ecosystem Science Long-Term Plan visit: www.ecosystemscienceplan.org.au

Dr Bek Christensen (ESLTP Project Coordinator), 0401 047 727,