Nicolas Francois – Day 1

A key benefit of diversity is resilience- with the threat of climate change being more and more on us this is a key element for adaptation to our new environment.

Genetic diversity is part of biodiversity-this raises questions:

  • At what stage is a species condemned because of having not enough individuals?
  • How long does it take for 2 populations from the same family to evolve into 2 different genetic pools? How many generations before genetic mutations create enough diversity?
  • Could GMO be a solution? Can you even preserve enough genetic material to revive species?

The Living Planet index shows biodiversity increasing in temperate climate…. Is it an accurate measure? Population may be increasing but what about species that have been lost?- they are lost forever.

Australia shows the highest loss of biodiversity, we do not even know all the species that are still alive today so maybe there are many more species that have disappeared without us knowing.

One of the key issues is that the public does not know and understand the services that biodiversity is providing- therefore they do not understand that the protection of Biodiversity is linked to the survival of our own human species.

One of the objectives of the Aichi targets is the education of the public about the values of biodiversity and the steps to conserve it and use it sustainable.

Who is accountable for achieving those targets? According to Peter Cochrane those are commitments from the federal gov’t but the responsibility is the states…. Nevertheless the federal environment ministers should be held accountable.

The real problem with biodiversity conservation and management of protected areas is the conflict of values.

Some are indulged and others deprived, a balance needs to be found (this is the key problem in Bushfire Mgmt. between life and property protection and biodiversity conservation)

To establish the common interest and work toward it, those values need to be clearly defined and expressed. This is the point of the framework process.

The observational standpoint is an interesting concept where participants (individuals or organisations) declare their perspective, goals and biases so it clarifies the potential issues. This is interesting as I find it similar to the concept of probity in Procurement. Actually how is probity managed in national parks? Are conflicts of interest declared? How is transparency in decisions maintained?

Protecting areas is only one of three strategies to protect biodiversity- the other 2 being mitigation of risks and restoration.

Adaptive mgmt. is essential when you want to influence behaviours and practices outside of the protected areas- especially for protection of wetlands.

Thresholds of potential concern are created to monitor and trigger actions. They can be arbitrary or real ecological threshold (e.g. 3 years without flooding will kill Red Gums) When they are arbitrary wouldn’t it be much more difficult to make them acceptable to management?

The link between science and management seems to be a task for engineers!

Ecosystem management and protected areas seem to follow 2 rules:

  • Bigger is better
  • Complexity is better (usually achieved through rule 1)

In that case one could argue whether current policies are efficient enough.

For example giving 2 dollars for each dollar spent on buying property for conservation purposes, is it efficient if it only participates to the purchase of small (less than 100 hectares) areas? Wouldn’t it be better used to create connectivity between protected zones? Or focus on larger areas?

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