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2nd Oceania Congress - orientation and welcome

Society for Conservation Biology

The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) is an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss and restoration of biological diversity. The Society’s membership comprises a wide range of people interested in the conservation and study of biological diversity: resource managers, educators, government and private conservation workers and students make up the more than 5,000 members world-wide.  

Society for Conservation Biology 2nd Oceania Section Meeting ‘People and Conservation in Land and Sea Country’' Land and sea country are terms used by Indigenous people in northern Australia to refer to the environments they have managed for millennia. The philosophy underlying land and sea country management of passing on the knowledge and values inherited from ancestors to descendants is widely shared by conservation biologists across the globe. In this meeting we hope to showcase Indigenous conservation management while highlighting the tools and knowledge now available to all conservation practitioners in caring for land and sea country. However, local practice can only benefit from exposure to global thought and we welcome symposia and workshop suggestions on any topic relevant to conservation biology in the region.

Eco Friendly OSCB

The local organizing committee for the SCB Oceania section meeting has strived to minimize the impact of the conference and be as eco-friendly as possible. This includes reducing all printed materials and conference products.

Abstract booklets

We have chosen to print as little as possible; in your welcome pack you will find a hard-copy of the schedule of events and a map. For detailed information please refer to the documents on your USB stick, which was created using bamboo. We thank The Rufford Small Grants Foundation for providing sponsorship for the USB sticks.

Conference bags

To ensure that the conference bags are used long into the future to minimize use of plastic bags we have only provided bags to those attendees who requested them during registration. For those who did not request a bag we ask that you bring your own.

Welcome from the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Section - Board of Directors


21 September 2012 Welcome to Darwin! On behalf of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Oceania Section Board, I am delighted to welcome you to our second Oceania Congress for Conservation Biology. As I am sure you are aware, the Oceania region (comprising Australia, Melanesia, Micronesia, New Zealand and Polynesia), faces a great number of conservation challenges including threats from feral predators, pests and weeds; climate change; pollution; degradation of freshwater ecosystems; over-harvesting; disease; and habitat destruction, modification and fragmentation. As members of the Oceania section of SCB, many of us are actively engaged in conservation education, science, management and policy to help overcome these challenges, and provide the scientific information to advise conservation management and policy. This conference represents a key opportunity for achieving and promoting conservation success within, and beyond, the Oceania region, and builds on prior SCB conferences in our region (Biodiversity Extinction Crisis Conference, Sydney, 2007; International Congress for Conservation Biology, Auckland, 2011). Darwin provides the perfect location for the conference theme “People and Conservation in Land and Sea Country”, which will showcase indigenous conservation management, and, more generally, a conservation philosophy of engaging communities in conserving the biodiversity of our terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments. If you are interested in becoming more active with the conservation actions of the SCB Oceania section, please contact any of the board members in attendance here in Darwin, or visit any of our social media (Facebook, Twitter, email listserv and website). Instructions can be found on the SCB website – The SCB-O Board sincerely thanks the Local Organising Committee for their commitment to conservation, and time spent organising this conference. We hope you all have time to fully enjoy the natural and cultural heritage of the Darwin region. Cheers,

Carolyn J. Lundquist President, Oceania Section, Society for Conservation Biology

Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Section Board of Directors Vanessa Adams Rosalynn Anderson-Lederer Stephen Garnett Aaron David Gove Jo Hoare Stacy Jupiter Richard Kingsford Carolyn Lundquist Jean-Yves Meyer Tanya Zeriga-Alone Adjunct Members Nicky Nelson Wendy Jackson Megan Barnes James Watson Gary Howling James Atherton

Welcome from the Local Organizing Committee Welcome to the meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania section meeting for 2012 which we are holding on Larrakia land at Charles Darwin University. As you will see we have a strong program covering most of the issues current in conservation biology today. We are particularly pleased at the strength of offerings in the area of community conservation, particularly the many perspectives on conservation among Indigenous peoples across the region. We are also delighted to have strong representation from both land and sea. Overall we have three full days of stimulating presentation planned as well as plenty of opportunities for interaction among participants between and after sessions and chances to enjoy yourself at the debate, the barbecue and the dinner. We look forward to sharing this time with you and hope you will return.

Local Organising Committee, OSCB2012 Vanessa Adams Gill Ainsworth Alan Andersen Graham Brown Andrew Campbell Sue Carthew Stephen Garnett Brydie Hill Hmalan Hunter-Xenie Micha Jackson Rod Kennett Richard Kingsford Michael Lawes Carolyn Lundquist Kelly Scheepers

Stephen Garnett Chair Local Organising Committee, OSCB2012

Welcome from Charles Darwin University On behalf of Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Sharon Bell and Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Sue Carthew, it is my pleasure to welcome delegates to Charles Darwin University. We are delighted to be hosting the Oceania meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology. In particular, we look forward to having so many delegates from around the region on campus with us, and enjoying the delights of Darwin in the late dry season.   This is a great part of the world for people interested in conservation biology, both because of its extraordinary biota and vast landscapes, and because of the profound connections between people and country.  We hope those connections come through strongly in the program that has been put together so well by Stephen and the organising committee, and in your interactions with fellow delegates during the course of the meeting and its social functions.   Thank you for joining us here in Darwin for a few days.  Like Stephen, I hope that this meeting foments future collaborations and leaves you informed, inspired and keen to return.

Andrew Campbell Director, Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods Charles Darwin University

Sponsors Platinum



Other sponsors

We would like to thank all of our sponsors for their generous support.

Practical Details

Conference Venue

The SCB Oceania section meeting will take place at Charles Darwin University. The pre-conference drinks will take place at Mindil Beach night markets and registration ZLOOEHDYDLODEOHat that event. The conference dinner will be held at the Darwin SailLQJ Club. All other events in the program occur at the conference site.

Finding your way around the meeting

A map of Charles Darwin University as well as a schedule of events are included on your usb stick sepa rately. Those buildings that contain events have been circled to help guide you. There will also be volunteers available at the registration desk to answer your questions.

Registration desk

The registration desk is located at the Mal Nairn Lecture Theatre.

Meals and Dining options

Breakfast is your own arrangement. Morning and afternoon tea breaks will be provided at the times indicated in the program. Lunches are provided at the times indicated in the program. Dinner is provided at the conference BBQ on Friday September 21st and food and beverages will be available for purchase at the BBQ and debate on Saturday September 22nd. Conference Dinner tickets are available for purchase in addition to registration. If you have not yet reserved your ticket inquire at our registration booth about availability of tickets. Appetizers will be served at the pre-conference sundowner drinks at Mindil Beach night markets (pictured right). Food is available from the markets for those wishing to purchase meals.

Special Events Thursday, 20 September 5:00-7:30pm

Opening Sundowner drinks and registration at Mindil Beach Night Market, Registration, 5:00pm – 5:30pm

Sundowner drink and light refreshments, 5:30pm – 7:30pm Mindil Beach Night Market Private Function Area The meeting will start with an informal gathering on the Thursday night at the world-famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets to watch the sunset over the ocean. Light refreshments will be served and the first drink is complementary (cash bar available). This event is included in your registration fee, but please indicate your attendance when registering to receive your event ticket. The iconic sunset markets at Mindil Beach are a short bus ride away from the city. Savour wonderful food and drink, shop for a wide range of locally made products, and watch the sunset over the beach. Meet up with old friends and make some new ones while you unwind into our relaxed Darwin lifestyle. Our icebreaker will be held in a special private/enclosed area of Mindil Markets. Location: The Markets are located at Mindil Beach, between Sky City Casino and Darwin High School, Maria Liveris Drive, The Gardens a short distance from the city. The private function area is at the north end of the markets.

Friday, 21 September 5:30-8:00pm Buffet, Charles Darwin University

Unwind after a busy day at the conference and enjoy a barbecue meal at Charles Darwin University. This will be a great social event for mixing with your fellow delegates. The barbecue is included in your registration fee, but please indicate your attendance when registering to receive your event ticket.

Saturday 22 September 5:45pm til late Free Public Event Conference Debate and Live Music, Charles Darwin University Debate, 6:00--6.45pm Debate topic: “Conservation does not need more research” Two teams of three speakers take turns to debate this contentious issue in a humerous and entertaining way. Richard Margetson from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is the Master of Ceremonies. Speakers include: Affirmative Team: Dr Rod Kennett (North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance), Dr Linda Ford (Charles Darwin University), Ms Clare Martin (former NT Chief Minister) Negative Team: Prof. Andrew Campbell (Research Institute of Environment and Livelihoods, CDU), Ms Kate Andrews (NT NRM Board) and Mr Greg MacDonald (public law practitioner).   Barbecue, 6:45-7:15 Food and drinks will be available for purchase prior to the start of the debate. Music: B2M, 7:15pm til late Live music will be provided by B2M (Bathurst to Melville), a six-piece band from the Tiwi Islands near Darwin. B2M is made up of young Indigenous men who play R‘n’B pop with a traditional kind of twist.

Sunday 23 September 7:30-10:00pm

Conference Dinner, Darwin Sailing Club

The closing dinner will be one of the highlights of the meeting, bringing delegates together for a final, Darwin-style, relaxed dinner overlooking the beach and sunset. The dinner will take place at locally renowned Darwin Sailing Club. Live music will be provided by local Indigenous band B2M. Please purchase your ticket for this event when registering.

Location: Darwin Sailing Club is located on Atkins Drive in Fannie Bay a short drive from the Darwin CBD.

Plenary Speakers

Friday, 21 September, 9:00-9:45AM, Mal Nairn Theatre Bill Gammage, Australian National University Bill Gammage is adjunct professor of history in the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra. He grew up in Wagga, NSW, and has taught at universities in Canberra, Port Moresby and Adelaide. His book on Australian soldiers in the Great War, “The Broken Years”, was published in 1974; an illustrated edition is still in print. He was historical adviser to Peter Weir’s film “Gallipoli” and among other books has written on Narrandera Shire NSW and the 1938-39 Hagen-Sepik Patrol in New Guinea. His 2011 book, “The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia”, argues that at the time of contact Aborigines carefully distributed plant and animals to make them abundant, convenient and predictable.

Abstract: Fire in 1788

In 1788 Aboriginal fire was characterised by detailed local expertise enforced and reinforced by a continent-wide religious philosophy which valued fire as an ally and respected its abilities. Differences in climate, terrain, soils and vegetation generated distinct local management practices, but everywhere the various purposes and benefits of managing fire were much the same. Across so vast an area, this was a momentous achievement. Probably it was also unique. In 1788 its like was not evident on the other continents, or in neighbouring Oceania. Why not? Comparing how farmers burn with how hunter-gatherers burn offers clues, but raises questions about why some people became farmers and others did not. The relation between fire and Australia’s plants and animals suggest ways to explore these questions.

Friday, 21 September, 9:45-10:30AM, Mal Nairn Theatre Bob Pressey FAA , Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University Professor Bob Pressey is the program leader for Program 6: Conservation Planning for a Sustainable Future in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. He is recognised internationally for establishing the field of systematic conservation planning and continues to be one of its leading innovators. His main scientific contributions are: new concepts and techniques that have increased the effectiveness of conservation planning across the world; a long series of intellectual advances that have progressively defined best-practice; conceptual and technical innovations related to the dynamics of biodiversity and human activities; and groundbreaking, intuitive software tools. Bob’s research interests include planning for biodiversity processes in the context of human-caused dynamics, integrated planning for coastal catchments and nearshore marine waters, integration of conservation action with economics, interactive decision-support software and effective engagement between scientists and practitioners. 

Abstract: The mismeasure of conservation

Conservation is the means by which society seeks to preserve natural assets and safeguard biodiversity against threats to its persistence. Conservation reserves are the cornerstones of the global conservation strategy, but reserves in Australia and around the world have a serious failing: they are concentrated in areas that are remote or otherwise with little value for subsistence or commercial uses. Therefore, they tend to occur where threats to biodiversity are low while losses of biodiversity continue unabated elsewhere. Importantly, this failing is hidden by common measures of conservation progress that emphasize the number and extent of reserves rather than how much loss of biodiversity their establishment has avoided. Means and ends have been confused, presenting immense risks to biodiversity. Measuring avoided loss is tractable now. Analogous conceptual and technical challenges are being overcome for carbon accounting. The main barriers to measuring avoided loss, and making reservation (and any other spatial conservation interventions) more effective are institutional and political. Bringing sensible measures of progress into policy and practice will require not only good science but active, persuasive argument to accelerate the uptake of this science.

Saturday, 22 September, 8:30-9:15AM, Mal Nairn Theatre Dr Padma Narsey Lal, IUCN Oceania Regional Office Dr Padma Narsey Lal is Chief Technical Advisor - Initiatives, IUCN Oceania Regional Office and Director, T2Action Research. She is also a Visiting Scientist, CSIRO Division of Ecosystem Sciences. Dr Lal’s research interests include integrating the economics of resource and environmental management, vulnerability to natural disasters and capacity within Melanesian countries to adapt to climate change. She has written extensively in this field.

Abstract:Wicked Problems in the Pacific - Challenges and Prospects

Pacific island countries realise that many of their environmental and climate risk challenges cannot be addressed effectively without integrating these concerns into their national development efforts. Mainstreaming of such concerns into national and sectoral planning and budgetary process supported by robust science and experiential knowledge is key to adopting a programmatic approach to addressing such ‘wicked problems’. By adopting such an approach, countries also acknowledge they can take the drivers’ seat when engaging with development partners and forming effective partnerships within country to achieve their sustainable development goals, including MDGs. ‘Wicked problems’ are generally understood to be those that require managers and scientists to step outside the usual linear approach to problem solving and tackling issues using a systems approach. A national system, drawing on IPCC definition in relation to climate risk management, comprise multiple actors from national, sub-national and sectoral government agencies, research bodies, private sector and civil society, including community-based organizations, and development partners playing differential but complementary roles to manage resource and environmental problems and climate risk. In a systems approach, different sets of context specific knowledge drawn from different disciplines of science and social science and experiential knowledge of communities and managers, would be brought together to support collective decisions by government and communities, through co-management, within the context of national governance. The paper will, using climate risk and environmental management in the region as examples of ‘wicked problems’, highlight approaches Pacific island countries have recently adopted and the nature of challenges they have faced when attempting to adopt a systems approach to their development agendas. The paper will also suggest a country focussed analytical framework for identifying specific areas that need strengthening for more effective management of such ‘wicked problems’.

Saturday, 22 September, 9:15-10:00AM, Mal Nairn Theatre

Bilawara Lee, Flinders University Bilawara Lee is an Elder of the Larrakia Nation of Darwin NT and her name means “Black Cockatoo”. She is a cross Cultural Awareness and Cultural Protocols trainer, Conflict Resolution Mediator and Authorised Marriage Celebrant. Bilawara has over 61 years experience with working, living and being part of a vibrant, highly respected Aboriginal family. She is acknowledged and respected as a community communicator, healer and teacher of the ancient wisdoms of Aboriginal Spirituality and Healing. She is the Australian Aboriginal representative on the International Indigenous Grandmothers Council who are recognised as the Wisdom Keepers of the World of Ancient Sacred Knowledge. She is a faculty member of the Casa de La Luna Institute in the USA and is an emerging International author. Bilawara is the Elder on Campus with Flinders University’s Northern Territory Medical Program where she teaches medical students (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) cultural safety, cross cultural communication, Aboriginal healing and spirituality and lessons to be learned from traditional healing.

Sunday, 23 September, 8:30-9:15AM, Mal Nairn Theatre Joe Morrison,

North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Joe Morrison is the Chief Executive Officer of NAILSMA Ltd. Both Dagoman and Torres Strait Islander, he has spent the last 20 years working with remote communities throughout the Top End of the Northern Territory, and more recently across north Australia, to develop capacity to lead “Caring for Country” initiatives. For the past decade, Mr Morrison has been advising Federal, State and Territory governments about Indigenous natural and cultural resource management, advocating for increased resources as part of the reform agenda in Indigenous communities and has overseen research relating to Indigenous livelihoods, water policy and planning, carbon, climate change, marine management and Indigenous Knowledge. He is currently a member of the Federal Government’s Indigenous Advisory Committee. He has a BA in Natural Resource Management from the University of Sydney.

Abstract: The future of indigenous land and sea management in northern Australia The caring for country renaissance expressed as modern day Indigenous land and sea management has grown exponentially over the last 30 years across northern Australia. It is now emerging as the job of choice for many remotely located Indigenous people wanting to fulfil their cultural obligations and broader aspirations to their families and country.

The caring for country movement became an expression of the long standing commitment to ancestral lands and seas, and so it made sense to use the ‘environment’ banner as a means of achieving sometimes unrecognized but purely Indigenous ambitions. Today, well over 80% of northern Australia has some form of legally recognized title or interest by Indigenous people. With a rapidly growing and young Indigenous population, caring for country is now viewed as a success in Indigenous public policy. But the future of caring for country will require a comprehensive rethink to reinvigorate the Indigenous discourse and associated social, cultural and customary values that underpin Indigenous efforts. Without this uniqueness rising up, caring for country will wither along with many other great Indigenous created ideas.

Sunday, 23 September, 9:15-10:00AM, Mal Nairn Theatre Zoe Ryan, Fauna and Flora International Zoe Ryan is a Registered Professional Forester with twelve years experience in research, design and implementation of forest carbon projects. As the Senior Forest Carbon Specialist under the Fauna & Flora International/ BioCarbon partnership, Zoe provides technical oversight of a series of REDD projects located in Asia-Pacific, Africa and South America.  She is responsible for design and implementation of forest inventory, vegetation classification, baseline forecasts, forest monitoring, data analysis and writing of the Project Document in accordance with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).  She has experience working with a range of forest carbon project types including REDD (both unplanned and planned deforestation); Improved Forest Management; and Afforestation, Reforestation and Deforestation. Her projects cover a range of forest types including tropical lowland rainforest, peat swamp forest, miombo woodland and mangroves. Zoe was appointed to the VCS AFOLU Steering Committee in 2011, as well as to the expert review panel for Peat Rewetting and Conservation (PRC) projects, and the Jurisdictional and Nested REDD Initiative. She is an Honorary Fellow at the School of Forestry and Ecosystem Science at the University of Melbourne, where she lectures in the Forestry Masters program. She is recognised by her professional organisation as Registered Professional Forester (RPF), with specialist expertise in REDD and carbon accounting.

Carbon credits and conservation: To the rescue, or REDD herring?

What is shapeless, odourless, weightless (but equivalent to one tonne), and is widely considered to be the last great hope for conservation of the world’s natural forests? Why carbon credits, of course. Since 2005, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been making steady progress towards inclusion of a mechanism to harness the power of carbon markets to reward developing countries for reducing deforestation. This mechanism, known as ‘Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation’ (REDD+), has raised at least $3.11 billion in donor funds, and now contributes 71% of credits traded on the voluntary forest carbon market. There are at least 50 active REDD projects registered globally, and at least that many again in the project ‘pipeline’. Given these vast sums of money, effort, and associated flight emissions(!), one might ask, has REDD+ been successful in conserving threatened ecosystems? Or would the money have been better spent on conservation initiatives more directly? These questions are explored via a series of REDD+ case studies. Lessons learned are examined, and the future prospects of achieving widespread conservation by harnessing carbon markets is discussed.

Conference document  

Orientation document for regional conference. Example of: layout and design

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