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K’gari case study in biosecurity planning to become a national template

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Although management plans for protected areas typically include actions for established weeds and vertebrate pests, preparation of a dedicated biosecurity plan is rare.

For many large conservation areas, including World Heritage areas, complexities include diffuse governance arrangements, the presence of a substantial tourism industry that may have little knowledge or capacity in biosecurity, and the cultural and livelihood needs and aspirations of Traditional Owners. These complexities suggest management of biosecurity risks in conservation settings needs to be underpinned by decision support tools that emphasise and accommodate multiple objectives and trade-offs involving multiple stakeholders.

Preventing future pests from entering K’gari was the focus of a risk-based decision tool that also considered the role and responsibilities of the Butchulla people (Photo: BLSR)

Our work with FINIA included developing a set of risk-based decision support tools for pre-border biosecurity planning. One key element of the project was recognition of the profound connection to K’gari and the associated responsibilities of the Butchulla people.

The project was funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment via its Environmental Biosecurity Office. Andrew Pearce from the Office commended the project.

“The department will support the adoption and implementation of the methods developed in this project. When implemented, these methods will create better environmental outcomes in the field that are more efficiently delivered and will help preserve the quality of human experiences that come from interacting with natural ecosystems.”

FINIA’s Professor Jen Firn (from the Queensland University of Technology) hopes to build on the foundation work via a student-led project that will underpin a complete biosecurity action plan for K’gari.

Contributed by Dr Terry Walshe, Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis, University of Melbourne

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