by Marleen Buizer
Forests and urban bushlands in Southwest Australia are in decline. It is not known to what extent factors such as increasing drought since the 50s/60s, fragmentation of the landscape due to urbanisation and exploitation of natural resources, and logging have contributed to this decline. It is clear however that the future of the Southwest Australian landscape requires serious and immediate action.
It might not always be possible, in such a changed environment, to go back to pre-European landscapes. So what kinds of intervention are possible and desired in such a context? This is a question that is relevant for politicians, industry, professional land managers and the wider public. It has particular reference to friends groups and others that are already through their workplace taking part in ecological interventions. Another important question is how various stakeholders work together and how this could be improved to accomplish the important task of achieving ecosystem health. Recently published research among restoration volunteers has illustrated that this group has no illusions about the future of their landscapes. Volunteers often take a realistic and informed stance, which they base on intensive hands on observations and experiments. They work hard to try to improve their bushlands, either alone or with their local government or other land managers.
A Forum and Sundowner is being held on 29th March to share ideas about engaging community for ecosystem health. How can participation be most meaningful in WA? What opportunities do we have, including academics, policy makers and citizens, to improve our practice in working together for ecosystem health? The Forum will be opened by Lyn Beazley Chief Scientist of WA, and Professor Katarina Eckerberg from Umea University, who will share experiences from Sweden. See the attached for details about location and registration.