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AEDA Research Themes

AEDA formally finished at the end of June 2011.  However, our work continues thanks to further Australian Government funding through the National Environmental Research Program (NERP).  This has allowed us to expand AEDA, including more world class research institutions to form the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub. 

Whilst all the links below are still valid, to see where this work has led, please visit the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub web site.

Information sheets on AEDA research themes

AEDA’s research focusses on three areas of innovation:

  1. optimal monitoring: examining why, what and how monitoring is carried out in order to ensure it is done effectively. This theme also examines how much money is spent on what.
  2. prioritisation and spatial planning: research on how resources are best applied in issues such as designing reserves or allocating funds for the management of threatened species.
  3. environmental decision making: investigating how we makes decisions. This theme overarches everything AEDA does. How do groups of people come to make decisions?

Over time AEDA is developing a series of information sheets on topics in each of these research themes. These sheets are designed take our research to a wider audience. Links to these sheets are provided below.

As new sheets become available they will appear in our magazine, Decision Point. If you would like to receive our email alerts on new issues of Decision Point, please complete the form HERE

Optimal monitoring

1.1 Getting real about monitoring (208 Kb)

Millions of dollars are spent on ecological monitoring each year. Unfortunately, most of what is done is being wasted as current monitoring programs have no realistic chance of detecting changes in the variables of interest.

1.2 Stats with a ring of confidence (197 Kb)

How do you present your statistics so they mean something, so they illuminate the truth rather than conceal it, so that groups with different backgrounds can meaningfully engage with them.

1.3 When decisions guide monitoring (233 Kb)

How do you know when you’ve got enough information from a monitoring program? A growing number of scientists are suggesting that this might be determined by how much information is needed to make a good decision.

1.4 Save, Survey or Surrender (269kb)

When an endangered species becomes so rare it's difficult to find, how much effort do you put into looking for it as opposed to managing for it?


Spatial prioritisation

2.1 Priorities for river biodiversity (206 Kb)

Which segments of a river system should be placed in a conservation reserve? Which bits should be restored? How do you prioritise the allocation of your limited resources when conditions are always changing?

2.2 Conservation networks in a dynamic world (239 Kb)

Comprehensive reserve network design is best when the entire network can be implemented immediately. However, when conservation investments are staged over years, as is often the case, such solutions may be sub-optimal in terms of protecting species.

2.3 Conserving species across different regions (292 Kb)

Recently published research on koala populations across Australia suggests that habitat relationships and habitat thresholds are different in different areas. This has profound implications for landscape managers.

Decision making

3.1 Accounting for uncertainty in designing marine reserves (247 Kb)

Better decisions are made when uncertainty is explicitly acknowledged and incorporated into models. A good example of this is in the design of marine reserves.

3.2 Adaptive Management: live learn and plan (310kb)

While most people have a general idea what 'adpative management' means (it's all about learning by doing), fewer people appreciate the different ways you can approach adaptive management

3.3 Planning adaptive Management: Why there's no time like the present (309kb)

Planning adaptive management it's important to carefully define your goals and values as they relate to time. This will determine whether the best adaptive management plan is experimental, neutral or cautious.

3.4 How should we best manage an endangered population? (322kb)

It's all about birth, death and money.  When deciding how you'll spread your investment, you need to take into account the difficulty in improving either survival or fecundity (and we use the example of the helmeted honeyeater to make our case).

3.5 Adaptive Management for CMAs (279Kb)

Effective NRM is more about how we learn than what we know.

For a list of AEDA’s core researchers and links to their associated PhD and postdoctoral researchers, please click here:



© 2010 AEDA Authorised By: Business Manager AEDA Maintained By: Last Updated: Jan 27, 2012