Shaping the future of ecosystem science

In late September, 25 ecosystem scientists from around Australia – representing a range of disciplines, organisations, and perspectives – gathered in Brisbane for the first workshop to develop the Australian Ecosystem Science Long-Term Plan.

The purpose of the plan is to deliver clear proposals for enhancing the delivery and impact of Australian ecosystem science over the long-term, across areas including research, human talent, infrastructure, and uptake into policy and management.

Enabled by TERN, the workshop was to kick start a broad consultation process across the Australian ecosystem science and management community, so that everyone can have a say in shaping our collective future.

The number of disciplines, organisations and perspectives represented at the workshop group reflected the diversity and complexity of ecosystem science as a field, and lead to comprehensive debate around questions such as:

  • What are the advantages of developing a long-term plan for ecosystem science in Australia?
  • What is the scope and purpose of such a broad plan?
  • Who should be involved in developing the plan?
  • What is the best process to develop the plan so that it is inclusive and fairly represents the Australian ecosystem science community?
  • What are the biggest impediments to delivering ecosystem science and outcomes in Australia?
  • What opportunities do we have to advance the delivery of ecosystem science and management in Australia over the next 20 years?

There was clear consensus that a long-term plan like this is needed to advance the science of ecosystems, and to influence policy and land management, and generate ongoing community support and land management. Ultimately, it will facilitate the capability of ecosystem science to deliver useful outcomes and benefits for Australian society.

The participants identified the main problems and opportunities facing ecosystem science, and focus groups were used to delve into these in detail, and to identify solutions. They are recorded in a workshop report.

Building on the foundation of this workshop, the process that will unfold to develop the Ecosystem Science Long-Term Plan is centred on principles of openness, inclusivity and transparency, and will include:

  • an online survey to seek input from the whole ecosystem science community;
  • open town-hall meetings around the country to provide further opportunity for the ecosystem science community to take part in developing the plan;
  • ongoing revisions to accommodate responses from the broader ecosystem science community; and
  • direct engagement with the end-users of ecosystem science to ensure the plan is relevant and useful at all stages.

For information about the plan and how you can be involved, explore the website of the Ecosystem Science Long-Term Plan.


Group discussions at the first workshop to develop an Australian ecosystem plan

Published in TERN Newsletter October 2013

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