Faith, The Australian Museum, NSW (Funded in 2005, first cycle funding
Synthesize available information, and research a key issue concerning Australia's biodiversity: how to achieve the cross-disciplinary approaches needed 1) for better estimation of overall biodiversity, and 2) for finding the balance with other needs of society, underpinning sustainability.
* Focus on the 2010 biodiversity target, plus Australian land use/climate change challenges.
Australia's 2010 target is "a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss". Limitations of conventional indicators for 2010 now require "broadening the science" (Science 2010 essay). The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment argues:
The research challenge is to 1) develop a biodiversity calculus integrating best-possible use of available biotic and environmental data, and 2) link this to socio-economic factors, to address the 2010 target, plus other climate and land-use change pressures.
Exploring novel, multidisciplinary, approaches to 2010-target assessment
(e.g., http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/eletters/307/5707/212#1272 ) requires
building on current opportunities to bring together exciting developments
in different disciplines, e.g.:
Our network project will address biodiversity scenarios relating to the 2010 target plus other land-use and climate change pressures at the scale of continental Australia. It brings together workers on #1 and #2 above, plus much related work. Information complementing biotic data of museums and related data bases includes: AGO's 12 snapshots since 1972 of detailed land-cover change for Australia, and national environmental audit information and ANU climate data providing environmental layers for surrogate-building. Addressing stated Aims is based on networking scientists across disciplines of biodiversity, climate change/ carbon accounting, remote sensing, land-use planning, systematics/biogeography, and environmental/economic audits.
Early workshops will focus on synthesis of existing data, analytical
frameworks, and software. Later workshops will discuss pilot analyses
and grant preparation. Project results will be presented at an international
symposium focused on the project, at ICSEB 2008.
Our project exemplifies the Network vision of a large spatial scale, multi-disciplinary, program exploring a complex problem, addressing "synthesis and analysis of existing data in innovative ways." We have a window of opportunity - leading research on modeling "overall" biodiversity now can be married to leading research on land-cover change, climate, and carbon-accounting. The group will include representatives of key resource management agencies (AGO,DEC,DEH,LWA), provide opportunity for early-career researchers (Cameron), plus feed into a bioinformatics course at ANU. The project will influence international research directions - e.g. through much-debated GDM and ED methods. Future collaborative work and grants not only will extend the Australian framework, but also may promote parallel work in New Guinea, possible use of bar-coding linked to PD, and models for GBIF and GEOSS.
Outputs include one or more grant proposals addressing both the information needs and the analytical framework needs identified through the project. We anticipate additional top journal publications and conference presentations on what are already some internationally prominent topics (e.g. GDM and ED and PD/GD methods). Outputs also include first analyses based on the toolbox and expanding information base created by the project. Example outputs include estimates of how much biodiversity has been lost since 1972; estimates of how balanced planning might shift the "curve" reflecting rates of biodiversity loss in the context of the 2010 target; estimates of areas containing either high species or high PD-endemism; estimates of collateral biodiversity benefits to be associated with carbon accounting efforts. Another output is course material for an ongoing "bioinformatics" course at ANU.The outcomes naturally include useful new multi-disciplinary collaborations. Outcomes importantly include a range of enhanced capabilities to talk about overall biodiversity in the context of the 2010 biodiversity target, climate and land-use change scenarios, and trade-offs based conservation planning.The project may provide a first working example of the "biodiversity calculus" called for by the MA, enabling 1) better estimation of biodiversity patterns for Australian planning and scenarios analysis, and 2) integrated use of biodiversity conservation instruments (payments to private land owners; new protected areas), so promoting sustainability through better synergies and trade-offs with other needs of society.An important outcome specific to the 2010 target may be take-up of the idea that measurement of success against the target must integrate land-clearing and other factors reflecting other needs of society.
Working group members (initial group)
The 2010 biodiversity target See https://www.biodiv.org/2010-target/
"In decision VI/26 the Conference of the Parties adopted the
Strategic Plan for the Convention on Biological Diversity. In its
mission statement, Parties committed themselves to a more effective
and coherent implementation of the three objectives of the Convention,
to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of
biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a
contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life
This target was subsequently endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable
Australia has set a goal of achieving a significant reduction in biodiversity loss by 2010 see http://www.deh.gov.au/minister/env/2002/sp04sep02.html
At the 7th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (2004), Australia supported more international work to develop globally applicable indicators for countries to meet the target to 'significantly reduce the current rate of loss of biological diversity by 2010'. See http://www.deh.gov.au/about/annual-report/03-04/outcome-1-biodiversity.html
Background to one approach to be considered by the EFN working group is found in:
Faith, DP. 2005. Global Biodiversity Assessment: Integrating Global and Local Values and Human Dimensions. Global Environmental Change 15(1) 5-8.
Faith, DP & Ferrier S 2005. Good news and bad news for the 2010 biodiversity target. Science Online, 6 Mar 2005
Carbon accounting toolbox
National Carbon Accounting Toolbox CD - a set of tools for
tracking greenhouse gas emissions and carbon stock changes from land
use and management, including the FullCAM modelling software and Data
"Integrating biodiversity science for human well-being. By linking biology, ecology and social sciences, DIVERSITAS produces socially relevant new knowledge to support sustainable use of biodiversity." See http://www.diversitas-international.org/
The Australian National Committee for DIVERSITAS now has EFN network (and 2010 working group) members, Faith and Yeates.
Participants at the First DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference: "Integrating biodiversity science for human well-being" called for a properly resourced international panel on biodiversity. (Oaxaca declaration )
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
The "Biodiversity synthesis" document highlights challenges in addressing the 2010 target. See http://www.millenniumassessment.org/proxy/document.354.aspx
Early career researchers
As part of the Environmental Futures Network's "Early Career Researcher (ECR) Support Program", early career researchers associated with the 2010 working group have submitted a proposal for a "Multidisciplinary training workshop for the integration of biodiversity modeling, environmental data, phylogenetic diversity, and carbon accounting"
The proposed two-day training workshop emphasizes multidisciplinary aspects of training in the areas of species modeling, environmental scenarios and carbon accounting. The workshop objective is to enable ECRs to integrate, in their own research programs, exciting developments in different disciplines that underpin "environmental futures." These include integration of environmental and species data and integration of biodiversity modeling with scenarios analysis and carbon accounting.
The workshop will broaden ECR research perspectives, further ECR careers by providing training and introduction to new methods, enhance collaboration among ECRs in various disciplines, and make a contribution to research covered by the EFN and the 2010 working group. The two primary ECR s organizing and running the workshop are Susan Cameron and Rob Waterworth.
Other EFN working group publications are: