Day 1, Oct. 24th

At the first day of this summer course, a lot of information related to biodiversity and other ecosystem management issue has been put, making the day very condense. The operation situation of bushfire is very different from what I have learned from researches before. I have read many documents and researches done by Australian or American scientists. Almost every research emphasizes the failure of suppression fire management approach. It is a very expensive way (more and more expansive, actually) and will lead to wild fuel accumulation which can increase the risk of severe fire. However, it’s surprising me that in reality, fire suppression is still the most popular and wildly used way, at least in blue mountain. This remains me that how academic view can be different from practical and operation decision, which may indicate that scientific point of views has less impact on decision-making process that I thought.

Another topic that have been brought today is biodiversity. There are three level of biodiversity, including genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. Australia has the most unique ecosystem and high biodiversity, which makes environment here very valuable. However, because being isolated from other continents for a quite long time, the ecosystem here in Australia is very vulnerable and will be affected greatly by introduced species. Actually this is the first time that I realize that in Australia, introduced species can be a bigger problem than other human activities such as pollution or land exploit. However in some sense, introduced species can be more difficult to manage than other issues like pollution. Because it’s more difficult to convince that this is a “problem”. For example, horse is an important introduced species in blue mountain and the number of it needs to be control. Yet for many people, killing (by shooting or poisoning) these harmless animals is unacceptable, so the plan has been shut down due to public pressure. This is another good example of how political power overweight scientific power. And how public awareness is essential for the management of introduced species. For a bigger picture, biodiversity value is certainly more important that ethical feeling of killing animals. While for many people, biodiversity is something that they can’t understand, hence very hard to appreciate the value of it.

However, in terms of biodiversity, there is a question that come into my mind. Every time I heard of introduced species, the role they play is negative. This makes me wonder that if there is any positive impact of introduced species on biodiversity in any circumstance? And is there any possibility that we can decrease the impact on native ecosystem of these species by adapting themselves on the environment rather than getting rid of them?

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