Living Labs Programme Sparks Research Initiatives

Thursday, 13 March, 2008

Pictures 023crop tnSeveral highly successful Living Laboratories events have been held since the beginning of the year. The philosophy behind the Living Laboratories programme, supported by ICE WaRM and the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation (DWLBC), is that the current investment in landscape change through Natural Resource Management Programmes offers the research community a ‘laboratory’ within agency implementation programmes where hypotheses can be tested and measurements can be taken at the full landscape scale.

Emerging Technologies in Environmental Monitoring
Important initiatives have emerged from this well-attended workshop which was held on February 12th and supported by ICE WaRM, Water Industry Alliance, Solution City and the Centre for Natural Resources Management.

The workshop was the catalyst for the formation of two sub-groups; one looking at computer systems for sharing, presenting and collecting environmental data and the other developing an industry incubator for environmental monitoring technologies. ICE WaRM has since worked with industry and government to prepare a joint Expression of Interest for ongoing government funding of this incubator.

Further workshops will be organised for participants to introduce their latest technology and to present their wish list of environmental monitoring technologies.

Glen Scholz: Challenges in environmental monitoring

Andrew Skinner: Environment Measurements: lessons from 25yrs in the Australian Bush

Alfio Grasso: RFID and Sensor Networks for Rural Environments

Sandra Leigh: Fish passage monitoring

Jim Rowe: Simultaneous management of large amounts of data from a variety of monitoring programs

Peter Toome: How Convergence is changing the face of environmental monitoring

Maylene Loo: Implementation of DNA-based environmental monitoring in marine systems 

Chris Saint: The Environment – The Laboratory of the Future

Notes from workshop.

Large Scale Regional Projects – Living Laboratories for Ecological Experiments

At this event, held on 22nd February and supported by ICE WaRM and the Department of Environment and Heritage, scientists and agency staff explored a range of scientific questions that could be answered through the clever design and data collection within large-scale ecological restoration programmes. Key areas of research interest were identified by participants with the idea of building projects around them in the future.

Management of the Pike River

The Pike River is an anabranch of the River Murray that contains an irrigation district but suffers from serious environmental degradation and has recently experienced major reductions in water security. This workshop, held on the 7th March, brought together leading local land managers and scientists with an interest in the management of regional natural resources to discuss the current management plan and potential opportunities for research that could help improve future management actions.

A mini-prospectus of management options for the Pike River area is being developed as a result of this meeting.

Integrated Landscape Science and Management Forum
This workshop, held on the 13-14th March, explored what science would be required to create a credible case for an Australian Centre for Integrated Landscape Science. Six keynote speakers from around provided valuable input. Integrated landscape science is a research approach that uses integrative modeling to better understand interactions between social, economic and environmental process at a landscape scale.

Ideas were introduced and developed about how to build a network of agency staff, NRM Board staff, researchers, consultants and others who can take the tools and ideas developed by the proposed centre and adopt them effectively.