Australia’s inaugural Ecosystem Science Council was formed in March this year. Their mission? To bring to life Foundations for the future, the collective vision articulated by Australia’s ecosystem science and management communities, for the good of the nation.
“Growing human populations, continuing habitat loss, moving climate zones and increasing global demand for resources are applying unprecedented and cumulative pressures to Australian ecosystems,” explained one of the eleven new Councillors, Dr Steve Morton, Honorary Fellow at CSIRO.
“In the face of all this environmental change, a strong and sustainable Australian ecosystem science enterprise is vital. Helping make sure this country has the best possible tools, expertise and infrastructure to cope with environmental change is a big part of the job of the Council.”
Steve’s long and distinguished career has been dedicated in one way or another to developing science and applying it for enhanced environmental management in Australia. As such he has a valuable perspective on some of the long-standing problems with the organisation and application of Australian ecosystem science.
He summarises the necessary solutions succinctly: “We need the status of Australian ecosystems and their processes of change to be understood and reported, our ecosystem science capability needs to be linked in collaborative fashion, ecosystem science should be appropriately funded, and knowledge from ecosystem science must meet the needs of – and be made available to – government, industry and the public.”
“This is not going to be possible without the right infrastructure and collaborative networks, such as those being provided through TERN,” he continued. “In fact the Foundations for the future document represents a strong statement of support from many different sectors for TERN’s general approach to delivering what Australia needs for dealing with environmental change.”
“Some of the foundations are in place: now we can really start getting to work.”
The Ecosystem Science Council looks forward to working with all individuals, groups and organisations in Australia’s ecosystem science and management communities to implement the recommendations of Foundations for the future. To keep up with their activities and find out how you can get involved, visit their website and subscribe for updates.
Published in TERN newsletter April 2015