NESP Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub

This theme focusses on research that will help decision makers assess and plan for development in northern Australia in ways that will ensure that development is undertaken minimises the risks to the regions environmental resources.

This theme will:

  • identify critical knowledge gaps in the understanding of environmental resources in northern Australia to better prioritise government investment;
  • develop and trial spatially explicit tools to guide planning and management decisions that support a mix of multiple uses and protected areas while maintaining environmental values;
  • identify biodiversity impacts from changed land and water use (e.g. agricultural, development and infrastructure) to support best practice land management;
  • demonstrate the benefits and constraints of landscape and river connectivity to better manage biodiversity outcomes; and
  • identify evidence-based methods for the assessment of development impact on species and ecosystems, which can be better integrated into planning processes and EPBC Act approvals.

This theme recognises that large areas of northern Australia are unlikely to be suitable for intensive development, but these areas still face major threats to environmental resources and research can help to improve how we manage and respond to those threats.

This theme will:

  • determine the impacts of natural stressors and current management regimes on biodiversity loss and landscape degradation to underpin on-ground management actions;
  • develop better capacity to predict ecosystem failure to improve planning and management practice;
  • identify management actions to address the management of waste and debris in remote locations. This includes the issue of ocean rubbish and debris washing up on Australia’s northern coastline and the management of hard waste in remote locations such as Cape York; and
  • develop management practices for rainforests, which minimise the impact of extreme weather events.

This theme is focussed on developing practical approaches to manage threatened species and threatening processes in northern Australia.

This theme will:

  • identify high-priority areas in northern Australia for threatened species and ecosystems to better target threat abatement and species recovery investments;
  • the development and direct trial of practical techniques that underpin on-ground management for the recovery of identified threatened species, including Kakadu National Park and adjacent Indigenous Protected Areas.

This theme recognises that an important part of the management of environmental resources is being able to monitor changes and trends in their condition.

This theme will:

  • demonstrate how to better measure environmental drivers, pressures, stressors and responses in northern Australia, taking into account remoteness and limited specialist skills base within the region, including approaches to environmental accounting; and
  • develop methods, and techniques to reduce the cost of estimating changes in soil carbon over time.

Aboriginal people own and manage vast parts of northern Australia. Recent increases in the National Research System are largely due to the inclusion of new Indigenous Protected Areas and northern Australia has also seen a rapid expansion of the Indigenous ranger movement. Research is needed to help support the management of IPA’s and Indigenous natural resource management more broadly.

This theme will:

  • support participation of Indigenous people in environmental management across northern Australia, including Indigenous Protected Areas; and
  • identify lessons learned from the incorporation of Top End Indigenous fire knowledge into fire management, to inform the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge in fire management and carbon abatement planning nationally.

This theme recognises that economic contribution of environmental resources across northern Australia is important for supporting effective policy and planning decisions.

This theme will:

  • Determine the economic contribution of environmental resources across northern Australia in supporting effective policy and planning decisions.