On the 29th of September I’ll be presenting a talk at the Ecological Society of Australia’s annual conference in Alice Springs. The talk is entitled Mining the landscape: a spatial analysis of enigmatic impacts.
My presentation forms part of the open session entitled ‘Desert Ecology’, and will take place at 5pm in Ellery Room D, at the Alice Springs Convention Centre. The session will be chaired by Louise Emmerson, Senior Research Scientist from the Australian Antarctic Division. Other presenters in that session are: Dr Kimberley Maute (University of Wollongong), Claire Runge (University of Queensland), Aaron Greenville (Desert Ecology Research Group), and Natasha Cadenhead, (University of Melbourne). More information about the conference can be found at www.esa2014.org.au.
I’ll be presenting hot-off-the-press findings from my spatial analysis on how ecological impacts of mining and exploration can be understood, quantified and modelled for the largest remaining temperate woodland on earth: the Great Western Woodlands of south-western Australia. My particular focus is on what I call ‘enigmatic ecological impacts’: ecological impacts of development that tend to ‘pass under the radar’ of impact evaluations such as environmental impact assessments, biodiversity offset calculations, and land-use plans. Such impacts are hard to detect and manage, but they ultimately undermine the potential for successful impact mitigation.
Understanding how ecological impacts manifest across large landscapes is essential for managing them, deciding on the best courses of action for conservation activities, and preventing future impacts. Strategic, regional approaches to planning and managing development and ecological impact mitigation strategies can also benefit developers by providing security of tenure in approved development zones and supporting their ‘social licence to operate’.