Research advances conservation management

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12 September 2014

One of the world’s leading engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services companies, GHD, is advancing the monitoring and management of threatened species.

GHD’s Natural Resources and Heritage team in Victoria, Australia has published a paper in Austral Ecology, a leading peer-reviewed ecology journal.

The team reviewed three years of survey data on the Golden Sun Moth (a species listed as critically endangered under the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act) at Sheoak Station in Victoria and used this to design a new monitoring program to inform future grazing management priorities.

The results indicated that the moth distribution and abundance dramatically declined from 2008-09 to 2011-12 due to a shift from drought conditions to above average rainfall, and that populations were largely found on northern slopes dominated by native Wallaby grass vegetation. This has implications for ecological management of livestock at Sheoak for conservation of the species, and survey design for this threatened species across Victoria.

Dr Alex Kutt, our Principal Ecologist and lead author, says, “Often monitoring data is collected by rote over multiple years without critical analysis of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of surveys. GHD effectively applied the concepts of adaptive monitoring and management to improve the future monitoring at Sheoak.”

Alex continues, “Understanding population dynamics of threatened species is important for effective conservation management. The lessons in this paper can be applied by the wider scientific and technical community to manage threatened species and meet monitoring obligations.”


GHD ecologist at Sheoak Station

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