New use of limited data helps prevent species loss—6 February 2018

A team of Australian Research Council (ARC) funded researchers have discovered that studying small groups of wildlife and how they share scarce resources in particular environments can be critical to preventing wide-spread species loss.

Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), including collaborators from The Australian National University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), developed a new way of predicting responses for an entire community of species living together in landscapes with multiple threats.

Lead researcher and ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipient Dr Ayesha Tulloch from CEED said the new approach enabled managers to discover which species will benefit or decline under a selected management strategy.

"It looks at how the entire community of linked species will change if one or more recovery actions are carried out in a degraded landscape," Dr Tulloch said.

"By thinking not only about individual species but about how they share space and resources with others, we can ensure that management actions are chosen that benefit the most vulnerable species, and avoid actions that might lead to unintended declines."

Dr Tulloch said the new approach means that even if we only know the responses of a handful of species, we can now predict how the rest will respond to the management of degraded landscapes.

The research is published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Media issued by The Australian National University and CEED.


Image: The grey fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) is likely to benefit from land management actions like planting trees.
Source: Wikimedia Commons CCBY2.0.

Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, February 6, 2018