Our Community

Foundations for the future was built collaboratively, drawing upon input and ideas from over 600 people and many organisations across the Australian ecosystem science community. The collaborative development of this Plan in itself is a significant achievement for Australian ecosystem science, as it is the first time the collective ‘voice’ of this diverse community has been captured and shared.

The process to develop the Plan was intentionally open and transparent, inviting input from any interested party. Two major activities - the survey, and the town hall workshops - provided opportunities for people to input to the Plan. In total over 600 people took advantage of these opportunities to get involved.

Everyone who participated in the survey or town hall workshops was given the option to provide some basic information about their work and connection with ecosystem science and management in Australia. From this data, we can see that the people engaged in the development of the Plan cover the full spectrum of ecosystem science activities in Australia.

Read on below for more details and people's category of work, professional affiliation, and memberships.
You can also follow these links to read the full reports from the survey and the town hall workshops.

The development of the Plan was guided by a Steering Committee, and the implementation of the Plan will be coordinated by the new Ecosystem Science Council.


Category of work

People who engaged in the development of the Plan by participating in the survey and town halls represent a variety of categories of work in ecosystem science:

Category of work Survey Town Halls Total
Count % Count % Count %
Academic 42 15.3 80 22.0 122 19.1
10 3.6 9 2.5 19 3.0
Communication 3 1.1 6 1.6 9 1.4
Consultant 16 5.8 11 3.0 27 4.2
Natural resource management 54 19.6 56 15.4 110 17.2
Policy 15 5.5 14 3.8 29 4.5
Research 81 29.5 136 37.4 217 34.0
Student 19 6.9 20 5.5 39 6.1
None - not currently working 5 1.8 4 1.1 9 1.4
Other 30 10.9 28 7.7 58 9.1
TOTAL 275 100 364 100 639 100


Overall, the majority of people who engaged in development of the Plan work in research (34%), academia (19.1%) or natural resource management (17.2%):



Professional affiliation

The people who took part in the survey and town halls also come from a wide range of professional affiliations:

Primary affiliation Survey Town Halls Total
Count % Count % Count %
Commercial company 11 4.0 10 2.8 21 3.3
16 5.8 19 5.2 35 5.5
Federal government agency 16 5.8 46 12.6 62 9.7
Local government agency 6 2.2 3 0.8 9 1.4
None - self-employed 10 3.6 7 1.9 17 2.7
None - not currently working 5 1.8 6 1.7 11 1.7
Non-government group or association 37 13.5 38 10.4 75 11.7
State/Territory government agency 52 18.9 55 15.1 107 16.7
University 94 34.2 166 45.6 260 40.7
Other research organisation 6 2.2 6 1.7 12 1.9
Other 22 8.0 8 2.2 30 4.7
TOTAL 275 100 364 100 639 100


Overall, the majority of these people come from University (40.7%), State/Territory government agencies (16.7%), or non-government groups or associations (11.7%):


Memberships and other associations

People who took part in the survey were also able to list their affiliations to professional societies, interest groups and other bodies. Interestingly, 29.1% of respondents said they were not a member of any professional society (full details are available in the survey report). The remaining participants are members of a long list of societies and groups within Australia and internationally, demonstrating the diversity of activities that fall within the scope of ecosystem science:

Australasian groups
Australasian Bat Society
Australasian Mycological Society
Australasian Plant Pathology Society
Australasian Quaternary Association
Australasian Seabird Group
Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour
Australasian Society for Phycology and Aquatic Botany
Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society
Australian Archaeology Association
Australian Association of Bush Regeneration (AABR)
Australian Bird Study Assoc
Australian Bryological Network
Australian Coral Reef Society
Australian Entomological Society
Australian Evolution Society
Australian New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics
Australian Institute of Alpine Studies
Australian Institute of Company Directors
Australian Marine Sciences Association
Australian Mammal Society
Australian Marine Conservation Society
Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
Australian Microbiological Society
Australian Network for Plant Conservation
Australian Rangelands Society
Australian Science Communicators
Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Australian Society for Fish Biology
Australian Society for Limnology
Australian Society of Microbiology
Australian Society of Plant Scientists
Australian Systematic Botany Society
Australian Veterinary Association
Australian Wildlife Management Society
Australian Women in Science Association
Birds Australia
Brunswick Valley Landcare (Northern NSW)
Ecological Society of Australia
Environmental Consultants Association (WA)
Environment Institute of Australian and NZ
Fungal Network of New Zealand
Geological Society of Australia
Insolvency Institute of Australia
Institute of Australian Geographers
Institute of Chartered Accountants
Institute of Foresters of Australia
Malacological Society of Australasia
Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand
Mycological Society of Australia
NSW Science Teachers Assoc
NT Farmers Association
Ornithological Society of NZ
Perth Urban Bushland Fungal Studies Group
Queensland Frog Society
Queensland Mycological Society
Queensland Naturalists’ Club
Royal Australian Chemical Institute
Royal Geographical Society of Queensland
Royal Zoological Society of NSW
Royal Society of Western Australia
Society for Ecological Restoration International (SERI) - Australian affiliation
Society for Risk Analysis Australian and New Zealand
Soil Science Australia
Southern Ocean Seabird Study Group
Spatial Science Institute (of Australia)
Statistical Society of Australia
Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute
WA Naturalists Club
Western Australian Wildflower Society
Wildlife Australia
Wildlife Rescue and Protection Inc.


International groups

American Geophysical Union
Animal Behaviour Society
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Ecological Society of America
Society for Conservation Biology
Royal Meteorological Society
River Basin Management Society
International Glaciological Society
International Association of Wildland Fire
Academy of International Business
International Society of Soil Science 
International Society of Microbial Ecology
International Water Resource Association
International Society for Fungal Conservation
Society for Restoration International
Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Society of Wetland Scientists
International Biogeographic Society
Birdlife International
Wildlife Disease Association


There are a number of groups and organisations that were involved in developing the Ecosystem Science Long-Term Plan, including the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), Ecological Society of Australia (ESA), CSIRO, Australian Academy of Science, Atlas of Living Australia, Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), Birdlife Australia, Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA), Global Change Institute, Soil Science Australia, and Geoscience Australia.

We also thank the Office of the Chief Scientist of Australia, along with the state/territory Chief Scientists for their strong support.