Watch this video to restore your enthusiasm for restoring your world

Emilys 6 Happy ShovelsTo restore the world we need to re-charge our batteries. We can’t save our climate, soils or biodiversity on a flat battery of despondency. Our governments aren’t going to restore the environment or our confidence – but our communities can.

I avoid posting blogs that simply say, ‘Ooh look, here’s something cool from the internet’ – but you do have to watch this. You’ll love it.

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Forgotten woodlands, future landscapes

Hans Heysen Droving into the Light

Hans Heysen’s famous painting, Droving into the Light. Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Picture a gorgeous woodland in the early 1800s. What do you see? Majestic gum trees with bent old boughs, golden grasses, a mob of sheep or kangaroos, and a forested hill in the distance? The luminous landscape of a Hans Heysen painting, perhaps.

It’s an iconic Aussie landscape. But something’s missing. The trees are wrong. Or at least, they aren’t all there. Continue reading

The Big Grass Years

Themeda 2

How did the Big Wet years of 2010-2011 affect your local vegetation? Many readers sent in their observations when I asked this question in an earlier blog. Last week I summarized all of the observations from wetlands and floodplains. In the post below I summarize observations about grasses, herbs and weeds from the ‘dry’ hills and plains. Continue reading

Top 20 Oz Ecology Blogs

At one of the first conferences that I attended, an elderly professor was asked, ‘at what stage in one’s career should a researcher begin to engage with the media and the public?’ His esteemed response went something like, ‘a career should be spent building one’s soapbox, before one even considers standing upon it’. Many in the audience quietly groaned. Years later I chuckled as another speaker proclaimed, ‘the world’s top research economists invariably discover ethics sometime after they retire’.

Fortunately, that old world has turned, and today’s up-and-coming ecologists are far, far better than their predecessors at communicating their research to the public. Nowadays, every researcher, young and old, can tell the world about their work through the internet. In this month’s blog, I’ve collated my favorite blogs by Australian ecologists into a Flipboard Magazine for you all to enjoy. Continue reading

From Ballarat with love: Great biodiversity videos

Norm cartoonNothing on TV this weekend? Then watch a biodiversity video, or perhaps eight of them!

Last month the University of Ballarat hosted the excellent Biodiversity Across The Borders conference. Videos of many of the talks have just been posted on the University’s video site.

The opening speaker, Professor David Lindenmayer, kick-started the day with a fantastic talk on ‘Effective ecosystem restoration and management’. David’s talk includes many new findings from his group’s research on woodland restoration, and the video is a definite ‘must see’. I gave a talk on ‘Natural regeneration: connecting regional Australia’. An earlier blog contained a different version of the talk which I taped at home. This live, conference video includes a Google Earth ‘fly-over’ tour and loads of bad jokes, which weren’t in the earlier version. Continue reading