An urgent call for ecosystem restoration action

An urgent call for ecosystem restoration action

In response to the ongoing drought, fires and catchment water quality issues, we call for national leadership to support large-scale ecosystem restoration across Australia.

Ecosystem restoration and creation, when applied throughout the entire catchment (from the coastline to the top of the catchment), can repair damaged landscapes, mitigate carbon and climate change impacts, reduce fire risk, stabilise shorelines and improve water quality. There is currently a significant opportunity to apply ecosystem restoration techniques across Australia from the fire-impacted coastal communities of Victoria, throughout drought-stricken NSW, and across QLD’s threatened Great Barrier Reef catchments subject to extreme hazards. In response to the existing and pending environmental crisis, national leadership and action is urgently needed to scale-up planning, strategy and on-ground actions.

A range of recommendations are provided to foster immediate and long-term solutions. These include:

  • Priority Mapping: The development of a country wide restoration map to prioritise action sites and significantly upscale efforts. 
  • On-ground Actions: Implementation of large scale on-ground restoration actions to repair damaged ecosystems across the entire catchment, including estuaries. 
  • Blue Carbon Corridor: Creation of a blue carbon corridor across coastal catchments of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland to mitigate climate impacts and reduce storm surge risks facing coastal urban and agricultural areas. 
  • Monitoring: Deployment of water quality hazard reduction monitoring for impacted river communities based on downstream risks to waterways. 
  • Natural Infrastructure Taskforce: Establishment of an independent Natural Infrastructure Taskforce, similar to Infrastructure Australia, that links with state based groups, to deliver large-scale restoration projects and improve coastal ecosystems for future Australians. 

Australian researchers and professionals are internationally recognised as leaders in ecosystem restoration. This strategy, once implemented, can be applied across coastal Australia to ensure a long lasting, catchment solution that improves the environment, mitigates carbon and reduces ongoing risks. We are calling on the Government and Industry to rise to this opportunity and become world leaders in coastal ecosystem restoration action and knowledge.   

The co-signed authors of this letter represent an experienced collective of ecosystem restoration experts across the eastern seaboard of Australia including Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Dr William Glamore
Associate Professor
Principal Research Engineer
Water Research Laboratory
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
UNSW Sydney, NSW

Dr Nathan Waltham
Principal Research Scientist
TropWATER - Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research
College of Science and Engineering
James Cook University, QLD

Dr Peter Macreadie
Associate Professor
Head - Blue Carbon Lab
Centre for Integrative Ecology
School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science Engineering & Built Environment, 
Deakin University, VIC
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