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Innovation for 21st Century Conservation

Textbox Section

Innovation for 21st Century Conservation

The symposium held in March 2012 took the position that the retention of Australia’s unique and rich terrestrial and marine species and varied ecosystems is an urgent challenge which requires – perhaps more than any other single factor- innovative partnerships across sectors.

The last decade has brought forth a richness of examples of innovation, generating new partnerships and models of establishment, management, financing, policy and governance by Australians from many sectors. This innovation has taken place across our strong public system of protected areas, but also generated a very significant estate of indigenous protected areas and private conservation initiatives. However with more than 70 per cent of Australia’s land in private ownership, we need to work with all managers of substantial areas of land - the pastoral and mining industries and departments of defence for example. The potential of emerging ecosystem and carbon markets need to be harnessed for maximum benefit to our lands, seas, waters and wildlife.

The symposium looked at ways to build the protected area system - the core habitat for our species - and large scale landscape scale initiatives as supported by the National Wildlife Corridor Plan. It provided case studies of new models, partnerships, and governance arrangements. By highlighting and discussing these examples we hoped to spread good practice and inspire new ideas for further ecosystem and biological diversity partnerships to achieve outcomes at the scale needed to stem our losses and recover health and resilience.

The partners in this publication share a profound belief that the retention of Australia’s unique and rich terrestrial and marine species and varied ecosystems is an urgent challenge which requires – perhaps more than any other single factor- innovative partnerships across sectors.

Despite many substantial efforts of all sectors to address these challenges, most indicators of species and ecological health suggest that our current efforts are inadequate to stem serious species losses, especially in the face of increasing threats, especially climate change. This has driven a commitment to seek integrated conservation management across many tenures to support our protected areas and, to make this happen, a willingness to explore more effective means of achieving conservation at scale with many different land managers, Indigenous and local communities.

This publication illustrates a richness of examples of such innovation – new partnerships and models for establishment of protected areas, for the management, financing and governance of both protected areas and initiatives on other tenures. Its key purpose is to both illustrate that new approaches are possible and workable and to give impetus to these directions. However the book has also illustrated that the path to new approaches will not be without challenges and the occasional blockage.

Not all innovative approaches to conservation survive, however the need for a whole of landscape approaches is clear. The international strategic direction is fully endorsed in the Aichi Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The full range of national bipartisan documents has endorsed this direction. We hope readers, from decision makers to students, will be inspired and renew efforts to ensure that the future of Australia’s conservation effort in this critical 21st century sees real innovation for real outcomes.


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Foreword – Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General, IUCN


Innovation in conservation – Penelope Figgis AO


A personal journey to innovation – Doug Humann

Daunting problems, exciting prospects – a personal reflection – Peter Taylor

Why we need Rick Farley now more than ever – Max Bourke AM


Innovation in conservation and the Convention on Biological Diversity – Peter Cochrane

A collaborative future for conservation: lessons from connectivity conservation – Carina Wyborn

Indigenous Protected Areas – innovation beyond the boundaries – Bruce Rose

Innovation in public policy for conservation of biodiversity – Martin Wardrop and Charlie Zammit

Getting results in conservation – Martin Taylor


Territory Eco-link: large framework, small budget – Andrew Bridges

Innovative approaches to land acquisition and conservation management: the case of Fish River Station, Northern Territory – James Fitzsimons and Michael Looker

Arkaroola – creating a new type of protected area – Jason Irving

Opportunities for enhancing conservation management and resilience through tenure resolution in Cape York Peninsula – Andrea Leverington

Gondwana Link: process or plan, movement or organisation? – Keith Bradby

Great Eastern Ranges Initiative: mobilising the community and sustaining the momentum for continental-scale conservation – Rob Dunn, Gary Howling and Alison Totterdell


Wunambal Gaambera Healthy Country Plan – Heather Moorcroft

Fire management in the central Kimberley (EcoFire): delivering measurable results by integrating science and land management in a cost-effective model – Sarah Legge and Atticus Fleming

Conservation for culture and livelihoods – Angas Downs, Northern Territory – George Wilson and Jennifer Smits

Shoalwater Bay Training Area: capability, conservation and collaboration – Julia Bowett, Alan Davidson and Tennille Danvers

Innovation in Victoria’s parks – Ian Walker

Mapping our priorities – innovation in spatial decision support – Rob Lesslie


Farmland investment and markets for ecoservices – attracting finance sector investment in ecosystem protection – Shawn Butters, Malory Weston and Cullen Gunn

‘Henbury Station’ – an industry perspective on financing conservation for carbon and biodiversity markets – Rebecca Pearse

Midlands Conservation Fund – an innovative conservation tool developed in response to the social, economic, and ecological conditions of the Tasmanian Midlands – Nathan Males


Ngarrindjeri futures: negotiating a future through Caring for Ruwe/Ruwar (lands, waters and all living things) – Steve Hemming and Daryle Rigney

Brookfield – a new approach to the management of public land – Tricia Curtis and Joanne Davies

Protecting Queensland’s Channel Country and the flows to Lake Eyre – Rupert Quinlan and Barry Traill

Innovative measures for establishing protected areas on private lands in South Australia – Greg Leaman and Clare Nicolson


The Science Informing Policy Symposium Series

Find out more about ACIUCN's flagship event series the Science Informing Policy Symposium Series. Bringing together leading Australian and international environmental experts from across governments, NGOs and academia to advise on best practice environmental policy and decision making.

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