Tropical and arid systems
Our research focuses on the following key result areas:
Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services
Northern and central Australia hold unique biodiversity values and ecosystem services that are found nowhere else in the world. The Tropical and Arid Systems Program aims to understand these biodiversity values and ecosystem services, how they have changed and are likely to change over time, and how they are affected by interactions with humans in the past, present and future.
Our science also develops policy and management solutions for biodiversity that can be used by the community, land managers and government, including comprehensive monitoring programs to track biodiversity status at the landscape and regional scales. We use ‘systems thinking’ to understand how all related elements contribute to the condition of both terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Indigenous and broader community economic development
Our scientists work closely with Indigenous and regional communities on the challenges and opportunities associated with economic development. This is particularly important in relation to agricultural and water resource development, mineral and gas development and peri-urban or semi-rural development.
Drawing on their significant practical experience and strong partnerships with Indigenous and regional communities, our scientists examine a wide range of interlinked issues such as:
- incorporating traditional ecological knowledge and Indigenous interests into decision-making about natural resource management
- opportunities for Indigenous economic development and how community benefits can be maximised from this development
- community involvement in the protection of significant species, such as cassowaries in the Wet Tropics
- how to empower and support sustainable communities, by considering economic, social and resource based issues and how they work together.
Development of sustainable landscapes in the tropics and rangelands
Our research focuses on maximising biodiversity and ecosystem services in multiple use landscapes. Some examples include areas within the Wet Tropics, where reserve areas co-exist alongside urban development, tourism and agriculture. Using a ‘systems approach’ to understand how all of the elements within a landscape interact, we work in partnership with government agencies, community groups, primary industries, the tourist industry, universities and other research organisations.
We are interested in how global change drivers will affect multiple use landscapes and their interactions. Another focus is diversification of production enterprises and primary industries, as an option to create sustainable landscapes. Our scientists work across different types of landscapes and at different scales, and we have a long presence in the north.