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Welcome to another edition of our newsletter.  Firstly I'd like to express our sympathy to everyone whose life has been impacted by the horrific fires. 

The scale and intensity of these fires will have a dramatic impact on the survival of many species. As a hub we are doing what we can to support recovery. Many members of our hub are heavily involved in providing expertise to government and non-government partners.

There are so many groups that will be important during recovery. In this edition I am going to share a 'blueprint' for management responses that we hope will provide valuable evidence based guidance to a wide range of groups. What we do now will have lasting consequences for the future of many species in Australia. 

Professor Brendan Wintle
Director, Threatened Species Recovery Hub 

Hub statement on the fires

A few weeks ago we released a statement on the fires to express our sympathy and concern and to acknowledge the the selfless work of so many people in this time of emergency. It has also been very heartening to witness the flood of offers of people from every walk of life who are eager to assist in the immense task of helping species and ecosystems through this catastrophe and hopefully toward recovery.

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Blueprint for a conservation response to the fires 

With other concerned conservation biologists, researchers from the Threatened Species Recovery Hub have developed a ‘blueprint’ for management responses to the 2019-20 wildfires. This document reflects our hub’s objectives of enhancing the conservation of Australia’s threatened species and ecological communities and to provide evidence and advice to the community and many other stakeholders about such conservation.

The document covers immediate, short- and longer-term responses to the fires and the need for actions to be coordinated, purposeful and strategic. We hope that this blueprint will support many groups to chart a route to recovery.

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ACCESS the REPORT

An assessment of threatened species impacted by the fires

On 20 January 2020, the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment released an initial list of threatened and migratory species which have more than 10% of their known or predicted distribution in areas affected by bushfires. Results indicate that 55 threatened and migratory animal species and over 250 threatened plant species have been impacted by the fires.  Over 100 threatened species have had more than half of their distribution impacted by fire. 

On 11 February 2020, the Department released a provisional list of 113 animal species that have been identified as the highest priorities for urgent management intervention over the weeks and months.

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Protecting Tiwi mammals

The work of Tiwi Land Rangers and Charles Darwin University conservation scientist Dr Hugh Davies has been brought to life in a beautiful new video. The Tiwi Islands are home to threatened mammals like the brush-tailed rabbit-rat, and the rangers are working with Hugh to monitor mammals while they utilise traditional cool burn strategies, to reduce bushfires and maintain habitat that helps mammals avoid cats. 

WATCH VIDEO

Understanding how threatened plants respond to different fires

Altered fire regimes can have a serious negative impact on threatened plant species and ecological communities. One hub project is working to better understand the effects of different fire regimes on threatened plants in order to improve fire management strategies and conservation outcomes. We asked hub researcher Mark Ooi at the University of New South Wales about the project and why the season of burns is important to Queensland’s Key’s Boronia

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Detection dogs rapidly filling the gaps for rare antechinus 

Knowing where populations occur is essential for effective conservation planning and ensures resources can be directed to manage threats in the most important areas. Stephane Batista from Queensland University of Technology tells us about a project which is using habitat suitability models to identify potential sites of two very rare antechinus species and is rapidly surveying these sites with detection dogs. 

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Exploring a haven for Yawuru Country

Nyamba Buru Yawuru, whose traditional lands cover 5300sq km around Broome in Western Australia, are exploring opportunities to develop a predator-free wildlife sanctuary on their country. If a fenced feral predator-free wildlife haven was established on Yawuru country it would be the first in northern Australia and the first to be led and managed by an Indigenous organisation. Dr Mike Wysong from Nyamba Buru Yawuru tells us about their journey.

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Vale Dr David Blair

There was enormous respect for Dave Blair from so many people, even those with opposing views on forests. This was because he was a person of integrity, detail and reasoned argument. Indeed, Dave Blair was passionate about forests and he would have wanted for his legacy of hard and meticulous work on plants and vegetation to continue. 

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Like our stories and want to read more?
The latest Science for Saving Species magazine is available HERE.

The Threatened Species Recovery Hub is supported through funding from the
Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program.
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Threatened Species Recovery Hub · Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science · The University of Queensland · St Lucia, Qld 4072 · Australia