Principal investigator: Sacha Jellinek, University of Melbourne
A large-scale loss of biodiversity is currently occurring throughout Our existing system of reserves is likely to be too small and too vulnerable to large-scale disturbances, such as fire and climate change, to solve the problem of floral and faunal loss. In order to maintain biodiversity, researchers believe extensive revegetation of the landscape is necessary.
Although some of this revegetation and habitat restoration has already taken place, there is a lack of knowledge on how effective these areas have been in providing habitat for animal species. There is also a lack of knowledge on the role of linkages (such as wildlife corridors) in sustaining biodiversity. Without this information there may be substantial expenditure of resources without the expected reduction in risk of species extinctions. These natural resource problems, such as habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and habitat degradation, and the resulting loss of ecosystem function and biodiversity are underpinned by interlinking factors of ecological, social and economic systems. Biodiversity loss cannot be solved by focusing on only one of these factors, but requires the integration of people and the environment in socio-ecological systems (SES).
The aim of my PhD project is to determine the influence of revegetation programs on biodiversity. This will be undertaken by determining the ecological processes occurring in remnant areas, revegetated areas and cleared land; by assessing landholder attitudes and practices to revegetation; and determine the connections between the two systems. My project will provide valuable information on the effectiveness of restored areas for biodiversity and add to the existing knowledge on the best way to strategically design restoration projects.