The seven scientists who will advise Government on conservation

Ian Bushnell 19 July 2018
The Grassland Earless Dragon, a threatened species in need of protection and part of the Scientific Committee's brief. Photo: ACT Government

The Grassland Earless Dragon, a threatened species in need of protection and part of the Scientific Committee’s brief. Photo: ACT Government.

The ACT Government has appointed seven expert scientists to advise it on nature conservation matters over the next three years.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage Mick Gentleman said the ACT’s Scientific Committee played a valuable role in providing advice on a range of nature conservation matters in the Territory and region, including making recommendations on the listing of threatened species and ecological communities.

The current Chair of the Scientific Committee, Distinguished Professor Arthur Georges, would stay on in the role for another three-year term, he said.

The Minister said that the Committee was again made up of some of Canberra’s leading minds in land and water-based ecology, each bringing extensive knowledge and experience.

“It will be a privilege to work with them on how we can better protect our local environment,” he said.

Mr Gentleman said that the ACT protected a higher percentage of natural areas than any other state or territory in Australia, with more than 66 per cent of our 236,000 hectares protected as nature reserve or national park.

“Like elsewhere in Australia, we do have various flora and fauna such as the Grassland Earless Dragon and the Tarengo Leek Orchid which are threatened. It’s important we continue to work towards protecting them,” he said.

Members of the ACT Scientific Committee:

  • Distinguished Professor Arthur Georges (Chair) is committed to sound fundamental science with a keen interest in its application in natural resource management. He has expertise in conservation biology of native Australian species, the ecology and evolution of Australian reptiles and amphibians.
  • Honorary Professor Penny Olsen (Deputy Chair) is a research scientist and author. Her expertise is in birds but her experience and interests are broad; ranging from wildlife management to behavioural ecology.
  • Dr Barry Richardson is a researcher with a broad background including in conservation genetics and conservation policy. He also has experience in environmental research and taxonomic revisions for a number of species including mammals, fish and invertebrates.
  • Assistant Professor Jasmyn Lynch is a conservation ecologist with expertise in conservation biology, plant ecology, rare and threatened plant species, recovery planning and botanical survey work.
  • Associate Professor Mark Lintermans has over 30 years’ experience in the ecology and management of freshwater ecosystems. His expertise is ecology and the management of aquatic systems, fish, waterbirds and wetlands.
  • Dr Kenneth Hodgkinson has good knowledge of relevant local conservation issues in the ACT in grasslands ecology. He is currently researching the restoration of Natural Temperate Grasslands and woodlands of the ACT in projects conducted by the Ginninderra Catchment Group.
  • Dr Chloe Sato has extensive knowledge in ecology and biodiversity conservation specialising in reptiles and amphibians, vegetation ecology, alpine-subalpine ecosystems, and box-gum grassy woodlands, especially in the ACT context.

The ACT Scientific Committee was established in 2015 and is a statutory expert body appointed by the Minister for the Environment under the Nature Conservation Act 2014.

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