The big ecological questions inhibiting effective environmental management in Australia

Morton, SR, Hoegh-Guldberg, O, Lindenmayer, DB, Olson, MH, Hughes, L, McCulloch, MT, McIntyre, S, Nix, HA, Prober, SM, Saunders, DA, Andersen, AN, Burgman, MA, Lefroy, EC, Lonsdale, WM, Lowe, I, McMichael, AJ, Parslow, JS, Steffen, W, Williams, JE and Woinarski, JCZ (2009) The big ecological questions inhibiting effective environmental management in Australia. AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, 34 1: 1-9. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2008.01938.x

Author Morton, SR
Hoegh-Guldberg, O
Lindenmayer, DB
Olson, MH
Hughes, L
McCulloch, MT
McIntyre, S
Nix, HA
Prober, SM
Saunders, DA
Andersen, AN
Burgman, MA
Lefroy, EC
Lonsdale, WM
Lowe, I
McMichael, AJ
Parslow, JS
Steffen, W
Williams, JE
Woinarski, JCZ
Title The big ecological questions inhibiting effective environmental management in Australia
Journal name AUSTRAL ECOLOGY   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1442-9985
Publication date 2009-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2008.01938.x
Volume 34
Issue 1
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Editor Michael Bull
Place of publication Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
770000 - Environmental Management
0602 Ecology
Abstract The need to improve environmental management in Australia is urgent because human health, well-being and social stability all depend ultimately on maintenance of life-supporting ecological processes. Ecological science can inform this effort, but when issues are socially and economically complex the inclination is to wait for science to provide answers before acting. Increasingly, managers and policy-makers will be called on to use the present state of scientific knowledge to supply reasonable inferences for action based on imperfect knowledge. Hence, one challenge is to use existing ecological knowledge more effectively; a second is to tackle the critical unanswered ecological questions. This paper identifies areas of environmental management that are profoundly hindered by an inability of science to answer basic questions, in contrast to those areas where knowledge is not the major barrier to policy development and management. Of the 22 big questions identified herein, more than half are directly related to climate change. Several of the questions concern our limited understanding of the dynamics of marine systems. There is enough information already available to develop effective policy and management to address several significant ecological issues. We urge ecologists to make better use of existing knowledge in dialogue with policy-makers and land managers. Because the challenges are enormous, ecologists will increasingly be engaging a wide range of other disciplines to help identify pathways towards a sustainable future.
Keyword Australian ecology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Centre for Marine Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 38 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 09:02:43 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Centre for Marine Studies