Research to support the sustainable development of Australia’s northern environments.
About this hub
The Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub ran from 2014-15 to 2020-21. Its research delivered new knowledge, practical tools and on-ground partnerships to support the sustainable development of the region’s natural and cultural environments.
Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub impacts highlights some of the hub’s impacts across its 6-year research program.
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At a glance
|NESP funding||$23.88 million|
|Host organisation||Charles Darwin University|
|Hub leader||Professor Michael Douglas|
|Approved projects||Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub Projects|
Gouldian Finch environmental DNA
Hub research showed that tests can detect ‘environmental DNA’, known as eDNA, in the soil and water animals use. This research approach can help monitor threatened animals, pests and culturally-important species.
Hub researchers were at the forefront of using new eDNA technology to detect wildlife in the Top End, with the endangered Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) as the test case.
Feral animal management
Hub research supported more effective management of feral pigs, cattle, horses and buffalo in northern Australia.
This research supported Wik Traditional Owners to manage their Country and better understand contemporary values associated with wetlands and feral animal impacts. Through important conversations with Traditional Owners, valuable insight has been gained into potential conflicts between feral animal management and community values. This includes the importance of feral pigs and cattle as a food source for people versus the important cultural and resource values of wetlands.
Fire and weeds
Parts of northern Australia’s savanna woodlands have been transformed by grassy weeds and changed fire patterns. This project drew on existing information about the ecological impacts of grassy weed invasion and changes to fire patterns on the savanna landscapes.
Researchers collected additional data and using collated information to model the likely scenarios of changes in ecosystem function over the next 30 years in the Greater Darwin region. This understanding is critical to land use planning and conservation management to predict, and hopefully prevent, ecosystem failure as well as improving fire safety for people and infrastructure.
Kakadu healthy Country indicators
We need better cross-cultural approaches to monitor and evaluate the health of Country in protected areas. As in other protected areas around Australia, staff and Traditional Owners in Kakadu National Park are committed to working together to protect the health of important values on Country.
To care for important areas, cross-cultural monitoring and evaluation frameworks were co-designed. These were trialled by the hub and Indigenous partners to develop appropriate measures of success, data sharing processes and methods for identifying priority management actions.