Over 130 conservation practitioners, landholders, Indigenous-led organisations, community groups, eNGOs and government representatives came together for Connecting People, Connecting Nature in Brisbane from 18-19 October.
The inaugural connectivity conference was held in response to the critical need to ramp up action in the face of increasing climate disasters and deliver bold and innovative natural solutions at scale.
The opening address was delivered by the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Fiona Fraser, who spoke about the critical need for conservation efforts across landscapes and “all hands on deck” to recover our most important natural places and wildlife.
This was followed by keynote presentations by renowned American environmentalist Dr Gary Tabor and Griffith University’s preeminent scientist Professor Brendan Mackey.
“The scale of the climate disasters that we face, such as the recent floods and the Black Summer bushfires, require an equally significant response. It is only by regenerating and reconnecting habitats at large scale across entire landscapes and ecosystems that we can recover, adapt and build resilience,” says Mr Gary Howling, Chief Executive Officer of the Great Eastern Ranges.
Although protected areas remain the cornerstones of conservation, Mr Howling says the “bits in between are just as critical for ensuring the survival of our unique wildlife, habitats and local communities.”
The conference took the focus from global context to local action and covered a variety of topics around the current state of connectivity, the latest science and practice, and how to move beyond business-as-usual conservation.
“The conservation status quo is no longer enough to stave off extinctions and ensure a healthy, thriving resilient future Australia in the face of climate change. The immense challenges we face will take a whole-of-community effort to tackle,”
“The Connecting People, Connecting Nature conference brought people together from different interest groups to start the conversation on the role that connectivity conservation can play in solving our planetary challenges and meeting Australia’s global climate and biodiversity goals.”
The conference was sponsored by The Ian Potter Foundation, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), Habitat Innovation & Management and Queensland Healthy Land & Water.