TESS Seminars 2023 Seminar Series

2023 Seminar Series

Speaker:  Jayden Engert | PhD candidate | JCU Nguma-bada campus

Abstract:  Australia is a global leader in land-clearing and biodiversity loss. The overwhelming majority of land clearing within Australia and globally, is driven by conversion to productive lands, including agricultural and pastoral uses. Bias towards productive land uses in land-use planning also leads to residual conservation of unproductive landscapes, which might act as marginal or sink habitats for many species. Using an integrated agricultural suitability map and high-quality species range maps, we analyze the influence of agricultural suitability on habitat loss and protection rates for Australia’s plant and animal species. We additionally assess how agricultural suitability determines which parts of a species range receives protection. Finally, using the agricultural suitability map we identify regions of Australia at-risk of future land-clearing, and the species likely to bear the brunt of the impacts.

Biography: Jayden Engert is an applied ecologist with a particular interest in human impacts, ecological restoration, and forest conservation. He completed a Bachelors in Zoology and a Masters in Protected Area Management at James Cook University, including a research component on tropical forest restoration. He has spent years working as a Geospatial Technician on various land management and conservation research projects. Jayden is a currently a PhD candidate at JCU where he aims to predict the environmental impacts of proposed large-scale infrastructure development projects across the Asia-Pacific region.

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Speaker: Sher Bahadur Gurung | PhD candidate | JCU Nguma-bada campus

Abstract: The increasing disturbance in natural hydrology due to urbanization and climate change has demanded the need of technology to reduce the impact of such disturbances. Water-sensitive urban design (WSUD) has emerged as a technique to mitigate such risk such as storm water management, flood control, water quality improvement of fresh and marine water. This practice has evolved gradually attributed by both fields as well model based knowledge. However, global practice of such techniques can only be achieved by optimal nexus of both knowledge. In this webinar, Sher will share his field experience and monitored data including his current modelling-based approach adopted to understand the WSUD effectiveness, in tropical environments.

Biography: Sher is currently, a PhD candidate at James Cook University, Cairns. Before, his PhD, he was involved in several research activity related to WSUD practices in South Korea. His area of research work focuses on the storm water management using WSUD. He has also published research articles related to the WSUD and received several research grants (Brain Korea 21 plus, best student paper prize and IRTPS) during his career.

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Speaker: Dr Ding Li Y | Conservation biologist | Regional Coordinator at BirdLife International

Abstract: More than 500 species of migratory birds travel the East Asian-Australasian Flyway each year, linking their breeding and wintering grounds across more than 20 countries. However, the region is also the most populous part of the planet, and wetlands and migratory species are under immense pressures from every possible threat from habitat loss to hunting. In this webinar, Yong Ding Li will share what we know about how different threats are impacting migratory species in the Asia-Pacific region, including the charismatic Spoon-billed Sandpiper, and insights on ongoing work at the national and international level to protect species and wetlands at BirdLife International.

Biography: Yong Ding Li carried out his PhD research in conservation and ecology at the Australian National University. He currently works at BirdLife International’s Asia Division as Regional Coordinator for its work on migratory bird conservation, and oversees project in several Asian countries. Ding Li is especially interested in Asian ecosystems, the ecology of migratory species and how regional cooperation can strengthen their conservation. He has written several papers and books on biodiversity conservation and birds in Asia.

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Speaker: Dr Lahiru S. Wijedasa | Asia Forest Programme Coordinator, BirdLife International

Abstract: Discovering undescribed species is an exhilarating feeling. In this talk, I will take l take you through 19 years of exploration and conservation work in Southeast Asia. During this journey, I was fortunate to discover and describe 14 new species of plants, ranging from forest giants to tiny herbs found beside footpaths in some of the worlds most visited national parks. However, my discoveries have also led to despair, as describing new species will not save them from extinction. This led me from a career in conservation science to a career in field conservation practice to protect and restore ecosystems within the region.

Biography: Lahiru runs the forest programme across 12 Asian countries for BirdLife International. This includes his role on the Board of Management of Hutan Harapan, and ecosystem restoration concession in Sumatra that accounts for 30% of the remaining lowland forest of Sumatra which includes tigers, elephants and forest based indigenous communities. He is also a tropical peatland scientist who has worked on policy, carbon emissions and restoration of peatlands and mangroves across all regions of Southeast Asia. Prior to his PhD, he worked at the Singapore Botanic Gardens as a tree surgeon and started his botanical explorations in Southeast Asia, completing a master’s in plant taxonomy at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh in the process. He also setup ConservationLinks as an agroforestry company that links consumers with spices and coffee to fund restoration in 2016. Throughout this career, Lahiru has described and collaborated on descriptions of 14 plant species new to science across South and Southeast Asia.

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Speaker: Associate Professor Penny van Oosterzee | JCU Adjunct | Thiaki Rainforest Research Project

Abstract: Cloud Land is a story of a patch of rainforest at the head of Thiaki Creek, the very first runnels of the Johnstone River. The focus is on events that made a difference to the rainforest itself. Interwoven with this is my own relationship with Thiaki during the restoration of a 50-hectare paddock. The book pleats and folds through deep time, forever time, evolutionary time, dreaming time, historical time and contemporary time.  The assembly of events exposes insights that are otherwise hidden when looked at individually. Here is a taste

Biography:  Penny van Oosterzee is an Adjunct Associate Professor at James Cook University. Penny’s research areas have a focus on policy agendas related to ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, biodiversity and climate change abatement. Penny is also a multi-award winning science writer including two Eureka Science Awards, several Whitley Awards, the John Mulvaney Award for archaeology for her books. Her company is a linkage partner for two Australian Research Council projects on rainforest cost-effective restoration based on her rainforest property Thiaki Creek Nature Reserve. These projects have seen 30 hectares of restoration plantings established with biodiversity core-benefits.  Thiaki Creek generates Australian Carbon Credit Units.

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