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Research Program

Hub mission: The hub will improve environmental decision-making. Key biodiversity issues will be better understood and the research will help governments develop practical approaches to securing Australia's biodiversity.

Research program description: The Environmental Decisions hub will undertake research on terrestrial biodiversity in a wide range of environments to assist government agencies to protect and restore Australia' biodiversity. The research will include new tools, data, models and authoritative syntheses that enable Australian governments to make evidence-based decisions that halt, then reverse, the decline in biodiversity. The hub research program is structured around delivering outcomes for each of the five NERP research priorities: values, ecosystems, threats, sustainable use and markets.

Research themes: The Environmental Decision Hub research program is structured around the following 5 themes:

Theme 1. Values: Understanding major Drivers for Maintaining Biodiversity

Leaders: Dr Michael McCarthy (UoM) & Dr Kerrie Wilson (UQ) 

This theme is examining how different values of ecosystems, species, and potentially antagonistic or synergistic environmental, social and economic benefits interact to influence conservation outcomes and how these should be addressed in conservation planning.

Theme 2. Understand function / monitoring of ecosystem health

Leaders: Professor David Lindenmayer & Dr Don Driscoll (ANU)

Projects under this theme will address key questions associated with the relationships between ecosystem-based management and vegetation condition, and species responses, with a focus on the development of datasets and models that will enable cost-effective monitoring and adaptive management. 

Theme 3. Threats: Building Resilience for Evolving Threats

Dr Tara Martin (CSIRO & UQ) & Prof Mark Burgman (UoM)

This theme aims to make the concept of resilience to threat operational using a combination of field research, decision theory, population and climate impact modelling, collaborative syntheses, systematic reviews, expert elicitation, fore-sighting and integration of dynamic threat data, biodiversity data and socio-economic data into planning processes.

Theme 4. Sustainable use of Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Prof Richard Hobbs (UWA) & Dr Sarah Bekessy (RMIT)

Managing the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems demands an integrated approach that reconciles ecological, social and economic dimensions. Research that tackles these three elements simultaneously is challenging due to disparate disciplinary thinking and dialects. 

Theme 5. Biodiversity economics and markets

Prof David Pannell (UWA) & Dr Phillip Gibbons (ANU)

The theme emphasises inter-disciplinary research to increase the relevance of the Hub's research for policy and management. Issues researched will include the use of specific policy mechanisms (such as market-based instruments and offsets), monitoring strategies, improving evidence–based policy, accounting for equity in project assessment, and integration of carbon and biodiversity policies.

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