We are pleased to announce—in collaboration with the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), Federation University and BirdLife Australia—our first Built Environments and Biodiversity Project: Valuing Urban Wetlands.
The conservation of urban wetlands is a matter of national importance and is relevant to all urban centres in Australia. Urban wetlands are typically highly modified, small, and disconnected from surface water networks like rivers, creeks and lakes. As a result they are often overlooked in urban planning and habitat protection, and their importance for animal conservation is mostly unknown.
Dr. Birgita Hansen (Federation University) will lead the Valuing Urban Wetlands project, which combines citizen science observational data and land use data to quantify the value of urban wetlands.
The Latham’s Snipe water bird will be used as a case study to measure the biodiversity of the wetlands. Latham’s Snipe is one of 37 migratory shorebird species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity and Conservation Act and is more commonly found in urban wetlands than non-urban wetlands.
The project will develop an online tool for analysing and visualising key results, allowing end users to rapidly understand the importance of urban wetlands in their geographical location. The results, methodology, and derived data will be made available to AURIN and ALA users.
Urban wetlands are unique spaces—providing communities with a higher biodiversity than is typical of other urban green open space. Quantifying the importance of urban wetlands will support their protection, ensuring communities can continue to enjoy and benefit from these spaces into the future.
This project is particularly exciting for AURIN, representing our first venture into biodiversity and citizen science. This project is also an example of how NCRIS facilities and other research infrastructures will integrate their data and analytical tools to enable exciting new cross-disciplinary science into the future.