Internal Report 532
Walden D & Nou S (eds)
Supervising Scientist Division
About the report
The concept of the Kakadu National Park Landscape Change Symposium was conceived at a meeting in early 2006 between Steve Winderlich, the newly appointed Manager of the Natural and Cultural Programs Section of Kakadu National Park (KNP), Dr Peter Bayliss of eriss, and Aaron Petty and Caroline Lehmann – both PhD students at CDU. The aim of the meeting was to look for ways to apply some of the recent research that had focused on landscape change in KNP and identify future research directions. The consensus was that the best way to do this would be to convene a symposium and the Landscape Change Symposium was born.
The aim of the Landscape Change Symposium was to have an effective two-way transfer of knowledge between Kakadu National Park staff, researchers, the Kakadu Research Advisory Committee (KRAC) members, stakeholders and Traditional Owners on issues pertinent to:
- landscape change
- change processes generally
- management implications and recommendations
- visions of landscape health and resilience
- future research directions, and to
- ensure that the outcomes of research are integrated in a timely and sensitive way into park management.
The objective was to place this knowledge in a management context and pose questions to Park Managers and Traditional Owners regarding future management frameworks and research directions. It was anticipated that the findings of this forum would feed into a series of more focused symposiums and workshops. The topics of these forums were to be Weed, Fire, and Feral Animal Management, Climate Change and a final Ecological Risk and Adaptive Management symposium which would essentially be the summary and synthesis forum for the preceding symposiums and workshops.
The symposium was held at the Aurora Kakadu (South Alligator). It was originally scheduled for 6 and 7 March 2007 but just to emphasise the need to focus on agents of change an extreme flooding event meant that the symposium had to be rescheduled to 17 and 18 April 2007. Over one hundred participants from a wide range of stakeholders including government agencies, academic institutions, landholders, Traditional Owners and Indigenous Associations confirmed their attendance. These included Parks Australia, eriss, CSIRO, CDU, Northern Territory Government, NLC, Kakadu Board of Management, Kakadu Research Advisory Committee, Gundjeihmi Association, Werenbun Association, WWF, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd and EWLS.
Topics presented at the symposium included:
- An overview of landscape change in Kakadu
- Savanna dynamics
- Floodplain dynamics
- Riparian zones and paperbarks
- Escarpment country
- Invasive species (weeds and ferals)
- Climate Change
- Ranger Mine site rehabilitation
- Fauna (focusing on threatened species), and
- Marine/mangroves and the intertidal zone.
Presenters were provided with a number of focus questions and issues including:
- Summarise the current knowledge in relation to those KNP management objectives as outlined in the current Plan of Management with a view of bringing in new and recent findings;
- What are the main threats to landscape health in KNP;
- How should the Park manage these threats to maintain and/or restore a resilient and healthy landscape in KNP; and
- What information is still required to develop effective land management policy? ie what are the key knowledge gaps.
Workshops were requested to address the following focus questions and issues:
- Consider the issues, questions and recommendations posed by presenters;
- Review how threats are currently being managed and at what cost (environmentally and budgetary) and make any suggestions for improvement;
- Identify what questions managers and traditional owners want answered to help guide future research and management?; and
- Identify what information is still required to develop effective land management policy? ie what are the key knowledge gaps.
Structure of this report
The report structure follows the order of proceedings of the workshop. The workshop comprised a series of powerpoint presentations, with questions and discussion during and after each presentation. Each presenter(s)/author(s) provided a written focus summary and a short paper addressing the issues outlined above. These summaries and papers are presented here in the same sequence as at the workshop and contain material additional to that of the powerpoint presentations. Some authors provided references (further reading) in addition to those included in their papers and these have been included in the bibliography after the paper where applicable.
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