Public Seminar - The Biodiversity Outlook Report: Status and trends in biodiversity and ecological integrity across NSW

Biodiversity is fundamental to a healthy and resilient natural environment. In 2017, the NSW Government implemented new measures for biodiversity conservation and land management through the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. The Act aims to conserve biodiversity across the state, including genetic and species diversity; maintain the quality of ecosystems and enhance their capacity to adapt to change; and slow the rate of biodiversity loss.

The Biodiversity Indicator Program meets a statutory requirement under the Act to establish programs for the collection, monitoring and assessment of information on biodiversity. We collaborated with CSIRO, the Australian Museum and Macquarie University to publish a peer reviewed technical method. This method has been used to create a baseline for reporting on future trends for biodiversity in New South Wales. The first assessment of the Biodiversity Outlook Report was published in 2020.

We present key insights from the published indicators for habitat effectiveness, genetic diversity, ecosystem diversity, and the expected survival of vascular plant species, threatened species and ecological communities.

The Biodiversity Outlook Report establishes a baseline for biodiversity across the State. The indicators are designed to be reassessed in the future and provide ongoing biodiversity information to determine if the purposes of the Act are being met. They allow us to detect and measure the status and trends of biodiversity in future assessments and in response to environmental events. Indicators also inform conservation activities to protect and restore biodiversity in New South Wales.

 

About the Speakers

Dr Tom Celebrezze

Tom Celebrezze is currently Director, Science Strategy and Impact for NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.  Tom drove the development and commencement of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2017, including substantial new programs such as the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme and the Biodiversity Indicator Program.

Since the late 90s, Tom has worked in strategy and leadership roles in the NSW public service ranging from regional delivery, policy and science. He has a keen interest in understanding the often counter-intuitive art of policy and program innovation in environmental sustainability. For around a decade, he worked to establish and adaptively manage compliance frameworks for native vegetation regulation. He was a principle contributor to the NSW Premier’s Award winning Sydney Growth Centres Strategic Biodiversity Certification, which enabled development of nearly 200,000 homes and established a half a billion dollar offsets scheme. His current role spans knowledge strategy, research partnerships, ecosystem modelling and forecasting, place based science for strategic land use planning and NSW Climate Change Fund evaluation.

Tom completed a PhD in biological science on the effect of honeybees on Australian plant pollination systems and genetics at the University of Wollongong. He holds a Masters of Land Resource Planning from University of Wisconsin Madison and a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences at Stanford University. He came to Australia (Adelaide University) as a Rotary Scholar in 1996.

David Nipperess

David is a Senior Scientist at the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. David’s current role is to provide scientific support and project management for the Biodiversity Indicator Program.

David was awarded a PhD, on the community ecology of arid zone ants, from Macquarie University in 2006. Since then, he has worked as a postdoctoral research fellow, a university lecturer, a scientific consultant and, most recently, a public servant. David was part of the original research team that developed the method for the Biodiversity Indicator Program.

David’s research focuses on ecological and evolutionary patterns and processes of species distributions, and their application to the conservation of biodiversity. He has conducted research in terrestrial, freshwater and urban environments, including deserts, rainforests, subterranean systems and roof tops. David is especially interested in biodiversity measures and indicators that incorporate information on evolutionary relationships.