Scientific Advice

The Ecosystem Science Council provides authoritative, expert advice to the Australian public on Australia's environments and solutions based on the scientific community consensus of the most up-to-date science available.



Inquiry into the impact on the agricultural sector of vegetation and land management policies, regulations and restrictions (2019)

The Council supports the National Farmers Federation's view that the ambitious growth envisaged for the agricultural industry will in part come from embracing the clean green ethos that the rich modern consumer demands.   This ethos will need to be underpinned by government policies that minimize undesirable cross sectoral impacts of agriculture, and by a strong evidence base from new large-scale data infrastructure for natural resource management. Nine recommendations are presented.



Submission to the Senate Inquiry into Australia’s faunal extinction crisis (2018)

Australia is, to our shame, one of the world leaders in faunal extinctions, with more than 10% of terrestrial mammals already extinct since European colonization, and more than 20% now threatened. We have recognized these alarming trends for decades, yet there has been declining commitment to and investment in arresting threatened species declines and recovery. We know that the key drivers of species loss are habitat loss, degradation through altered ecological processes and invasive feral species. Without early intervention, the costs for mitigation escalate and the likelihood of successful outcomes for biodiversity are diminished. We need policies that are proactive, and resilient, not just responding to the few species that make the national critically endangered list. Even with that, much of the heavy lifting is left to the private sector through volunteer fund-raising efforts. It is not acceptable to hold a ‘bake-off’ to protect threatened species, and no amount of awareness raising will make the crisis go away, if it not followed up by swift and effective on-ground actions. Australia urgently needs a national strategy and long-term commitment to change this woeful state of biodiversity conservation. Four recommendations are presented.



Submission Coversheet: Comments on Australia's Strategy for Nature 2018-2030 (2018)

The Council urged the Commonwealth to retain and re-visit the 2010-2030 Strategy, which is a workable document, and utilize the very thorough and considered review and analysis in the Commonwealth’s own Report on the Review of the first five years of Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010–2030.



Proposal for a national Ecosystem Monitoring Management Agency (2017)

The Council proposed that the Australian Government establishes a Commonwealth authority to:

  • establish national ecosystem monitoring and forecasting systems
  • measure progress towards environmental goals and objectives
  • administer environmental legislation more effectively, and
  • improve the effectiveness of natural resource management and social health initiatives.



NCRIS Draft-2016 National Roadmap Response  - Digital Data Services Perspective (2017)

The Council's response to the data information component in the  NCRIS Draft Roadmap released by the Auastrlian Governement Department of Education and Training  in December 2016.



NCRIS Draft-2016 National Roadmap Response -Science perspective (2017)

The Council's response to the full NCRIS Draft Roadmap released by the Auastrlian Governement Department of Education and Training  in December 2016.



NCRIS Capabilbity Issues Paper: A new landmark capability (2016)

Australia requires new research infrastructure to enable the science to forecast ecosystem change to improve risk analysis in support of economic and social development. This is a global grand challenge Australia can lead. Ecosystem Forecasts is a proposed program built as a consortium to meet the needs of industry, government and everyday people. Recoomendations of the submission were:

  •  Launch a grand challenge to focus extra resources and creativity on the science of forecasting ecosystem change to underpin new industries, to sustain current industries and markets, and to improve risk analysis for adaptation planning.
  • Restore adequate funding, and continue to prioritise the existing plot networks of in situ observations and instrumentation, associated satellite monitoring, and open access data streams that enable scientists to quantify changing processes and functions in Australian ecosystems.
  • Increase resources to expand capability for inclusion of in situ observational capabilities into inland waters (rivers, wetlands, lakes and groundwater-dependent ecosystems), coastal systems and production landscapes.



Productivity Commission Inquiry into Data Availability and Use (2016)

Less attention (but equally important) has been given to intelligible reuse of data in terms of data governance, data curation, data transparencyand data analytics/visualisations – all of which would increase use and reuse. More concerning, the data generators (and corporate suppliers) who are the experts in ecosystem science data and its contextual information are often forgotten after authoring and depositing data despite having world class expertise that can aid intelligible reuse. Much highly-valued data is not being used because of poor data transparency of metadata in online portals. Althoughit is a responsibility of data generators to publish high quality data descriptors data, it is critical infrastructure technologists build systems which make the metadata more transparent and easy to understand for effective re-use and informed decision making.