By James George Hagan
NACC’s biannual WA Threatened Species Forum aims to provide information on conservation priorities, ongoing interventions and scientific research for threatened species in Western Australia.
In this respect, I found the conference useful and engaging. The talks provided a dynamic mix of local- and international-scale conservation information. Furthermore, the topics covered were diverse. They included everything from novel, empirical science to fund-raising citizen science and touched upon government policy. The broad conservation message and wide-ranging topics were valuable.
As an ecology researcher in the region, I was most intrigued by the empirical science. Alison Ritchie and Wolfgang Lewandrowski gave excellent talks on ecological restoration. Ritchie’s work on restoring ecological interactions in fragmented banksia woodlands was highly relevant to my own research and I hope to apply some of her ideas in my own study system; the York-Gum Jam Woodlands. Lewandrowski’s work coupled restoration ecology with plant functional traits. His results have indirect but clear applications for ongoing projects related to community assembly patterns in the York-Gum Jam Woodlands and elsewhere. Thus, the Forum exposed me to an unfamiliar literature which contained several lessons for my own work in the region.
Although I enjoyed the empirical science most, the conservation-oriented talks were extremely useful for me personally. Ecology students and researchers like myself are often disconnected from on-ground conservation work. The combined message of several talks throughout the Forum covered the threatened species conservation process in WA superbly. This included fund-raising for threatened species, land rehabilitation and management, citizen-science, ecological monitoring, conservation messaging along with local and international policy.
Overall, I found this highly stimulating and NACC deserves immense credit here. It gave me several ideas on where my own research fits into threatened species conservation and avenues where I could contribute.
Finally, several speakers and attendees were simply inspirational individuals and provided clear calls to action for threatened species conservation in WA and Australia. Carlos Drews in particular was a highly engaging speaker and gave a clear message that action, both collectively and individually, is necessary for effective conservation. Similarly, Gregory Andrews, the Threatened Species Commissioner, was infectious in his enthusiasm for conservation in Australia. These individuals give hope and energy to the conservation movement and motivated me strongly to continue to do more.
Overall, I thank NACC for the opportunity to be part of the Forum. Myself and my colleagues from the Mayfield Lab at the University of Queensland are new to the region. The Forum allowed us to make several new contacts and I am sure that those relationships will be profitable for future threatened species conservation projects in the region.
Many thanks and best regards,