February 7-9 2012
Sustainable use of island ecosystems requires strong inter-disciplinary knowledge bases including terrestrial and marine ecology, coastal engineering, fire ecology, invasive species management, waste management, communication and marketing, and environmental economics. The Island Arks Symposium II brought together practitioners in these disciplines to identify, discuss and resolve management challenges; identifying pathways for long-term conservation of island ecosystems including sustainable use.
Islands are seen by many Australians as the “crown jewel” of our natural environment. Yet our collective actions and lack of appropriate management of such pristine and important natural systems is threatening to remove the gloss from such gems. Increased human visitation, poor quarantine, economic development, loss of indigenous culture and the longer term impacts of climate change are examples of the pressures currently seen on many of our islands. Island Arks Symposium II was a gathering of Australia’s most respected island researchers, celebrated conservation managers, and up-and-coming scientists to address these threats.
“The symposium was a truly national initiative for discussing island management issues,” said Andrew Burbidge, organisation committee member and independent scientist.
Held in Canberra, the symposium featured 54 presentations on topics that ranged from biosecurity to pest eradications to indigenous island management. Among many presentation highlights, symposium sponsor Chevron presented on their Barrow Island quarantine program and Bill Waldman of Island Conversation presented on an upcoming global campaign to prevent the extinction of island species threatened by invasive animal pests.
During Island Ark Symposium II it became apparent that Australian islands face many similar conservation challenges. For the first time since the 1980s, State of the Islands reports where delivered by representatives from Tasmania, Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, and Northern Territory. The reports showed that of the 8000 islands managed by Australia, the vast majority have pests that require management or eradication as well as endangered flora and fauna that require protection and conservation.
Papers detailing symposium presentations and reports will be collected and released as a book in the coming months.
With over 90 delegates from government departments, universities, non-profit organizations and corporations, Island Arks Symposium II was a venue for sharing best practices and establishing cross-sector partnerships. Only three years after the Island Ark Symposium I was held on Daydream Island, the initiative has already shown its value.
One the many success stories was the collaboration between University scientists and Indigenous Rangers that emerged from the inaugural Island Arks conference. The partnership began when University of Queensland academic Dr Robbie Wilson and his postdoctoral students Dr Bill Ellis and Dr Sean Fitzgibbon met Gavin Enever of the Anindilyakwa Land Council from remote regions of the Northern Territory.
Together with QUT scientists and the local community, they have embarked on a collaborative research project that is helping to conserve the endangered Northern Quoll. The unique nature of this collaboration and the involvement of the Indigenous Rangers in all aspects of the work has resulted in many social, cultural and scientific achievements. Members of their research team presented preliminary findings at Island Arks Symposium II.
The Islands Arks Symposium II organization committee included prominent scientists, researchers, and conservation managers, including chair Derek Ball, Andrew Burbidge, Peter Copley, Alaric Fisher, Raymond Nias, Bob Pressey, Keith Springer and Samantha Vine. The symposium was the brainchild of Mr Ball, who is a Biodiversity Manager at Reef Catchments.
Presenter Sally Bryant of Tasmanian Land Conservancy left delegates, presenters, and organizers with a call to action. “Islands are important to everyone,” she said. “Let’s not lose the momentum of this symposium to move conversation forward.”
- Island Arks Symposium II Program
- Symposium Papers and Presentations