Forum to discuss future of forest health

March 19, 2012

The question of how to engage the public in environmental work in urban areas and bushlands will be discussed at a forum and sundowner organised by Murdoch University researchers later this month.

The forum, which takes place on Thursday, March 29, at Cockburn Wetland Centre in Bibra Lake, will be opened by Professor Lyn Beazley, Chief Scientist of Western Australia and addressed by Professor Katarina Eckerberg from Umea University in Sweden, who will share her experiences from the Scandinavian country.

Organiser and community engagement expert Dr Marleen Buizer from Murdoch University’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Change, Woodland and Forest Health said the forum was an opportunity for the community, government representatives, stakeholders and researchers to come together and discuss the challenges posed by working towards ecosystem health.

“Recently published research among restoration volunteers has illustrated that this group has no illusions about the future of their landscapes,” said Dr Buizer.

“They know that it will not be possible to go back to pre-European landscapes but they still work hard to try to improve their bushlands, either alone or in collaboration with organisations like local government or Department of Environment and Conservation managers.

“The forum will give everyone involved in land management efforts the chance to discuss what sort of interventions are possible and share information so that practices are improved.

“We are also hoping it provokes discussions on how to involve and engage more members of the community in shaping the land for generations to come.”

Dr Buizer said the forests and urban bushlands in south west Australia were in decline but it was not known to what extent factors such as increasing drought, fragmentation of the landscape due to urbanisation and exploitation of natural resources had contributed to the decline.

“It is clear however that the future of the south west Australian landscape requires serious and immediate action,” she added.

The forum, which is co-organised with the City of Mandurah and the University of Western Australia, will start at noon and will cost $25 a head.

People who are planning to attend should RSVP by Thursday, March 22, by emailing or calling (08) 9550 3941.

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