Survey summary: Your top ideas for the future of ecosystem science


About the survey

As a first step in the consultation for the ESLTP, an open online survey was conducted from November 2013 to January 2014. The purpose of this survey was to gather ideas and suggestions for ways to sustain and strengthen the future of ecosystem science in Australia in the long-term. The two principal questions asked were:

  1. Why do you think ecosystem science is important for Australia?
  2. What are your top three (or less) ideas for growing and strengthening ecosystem science in Australia over the next 20 years or longer?

Response to the survey

Encouragingly, over 300 people from a range of organisations and all our states and territories took the survey and collectively submitted over 700 ideas for the future of ecosystem science (NB - all responses were anonymous). These ideas covered a diversity of topics and approaches at a range of scales. Upon review, it was clear that strong commonalities were present across ideas and these have been distilled into seven key themes for further consideration:

• Data access and availability
• Ecosystem science governance
• Funding and investment
• Research agenda
• Linkage with end-users
• Education
• Other

Who took the survey?

The survey respondents covered the full geographic extent of Australia, and came from a range of professional and organisational contexts. Interestingly, over half of respondents came from a University (34%) or State/Territory government agency (19%) context. In addition to this, almost half of respondents identified their primary work as research (29%) or natural resource management (19%). Respondents are members of a wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary list of professional bodies and societies within the Australian ecosystem science community. Despite this, almost one third of respondents (29%) said they were not a member of any professional society.

Survey report

When the survey period closed, a small working group considered the responses to identify key themes (listed above) to inform the ongoing consultation process for the ESLTP. The themes identified through the survey responses have formed a useful framework for discussions and development of proposals at town-hall workshops across the country.

A summary of these themes, along with a summary of the demographics of participants, and a full list of survey responses, have been collated into a report that you can download here.

If you have any questions, please contact us.