Last week several members of the Environment Institute were honoured with awards.
“I wanted to help make restoration more efficient and more effective; I hoped to improve the ecology of SA. Previous work had already shown that restoration projects tended to have low success rates and researchers thought that genetic problems of the seeds used in restoration were likely the reasons for these low success rates.
My PhD research was the first to identify that two key genetic problems routinely impact plants used for restoration – high inbreeding and low pollen diversity. My PhD research showed how these genetic problems affect seed quality, when they are likely to be problems in restoration projects, and how some simple changes to seed collection policy could help overcome these problems, improving restoration outcomes. I argued in my thesis that improving the quality of seeds used in restoration projects is acutely important today due to the stress on restoration projects from climate change, habitat loss and invasive species. “
The Landscape Futures Program were also the recipients of awards last week.
The Landscape Futures Analysis Tool (LFAT) won the Environment and Sustainability category at the South Australian Spatial Excellence Awards. The Environment and Sustainability Award recognises projects and products that help to resolve any issue in the environmental context. The LFAT is a GIS and modelling framework that brings together critical information about a region, enabling spatial projections of the viability of various land uses and provides options that will help adaptations.
Through collaborative work with NRM regions, four critical issues were identified for use in the model; mitigation of carbon emissions, biodiversity conservation, weed management and agricultural production. LFAT is highly interactive allowing users to explore future scenarios for up to 256 possible combinations of climate, agricultural commodity price, carbon price and input cost. The Tool can be found at www.lfat.org.au
Partners for this research included C.S.I.R.O., DEWNR (SA MDB and Eyre Peninsula), Mark Siebentritt & Associates, Regional Connections, Rural Solutions, Eyre Peninsula Integrated Climate Change Agreement, Dunnotarr, Loco Creative, Enviroconnect.
In the individual categories (Undergraduate/Graduate Project Award) one of Bertram Ostendorf’s honours students, Tina Schroeder, won with her thesis on dingo predation effects in the Arid Recovery Project. Tanya’s project tested how cats and foxes interact with dingoes by applying static (spatial) and dynamic (temporal and spatial) interaction analyses based on GPS location data of feral cats, red foxes and dingoes obtained at 2 hour intervals during an experiment undertaken between 2008 – 2010 in arid northern South Australia.