Better data a boost for quolls, potoroos and Otways threatened species

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Land managers and researchers working in the Otways will be able to better focus their efforts thanks to a new database, being compiled by the Conservation Ecology Centre.

The Otways Threatened Species Database brings together over 11,000 records of threatened species in the region and is publicly accessible through the Visualising Victoria’ Biodiversity web platform.

The database is far more comprehensive than researchers have previously had access to, and will make a real difference to threatened species conservation, according to Dr Jack Pascoe, Conservation and Research Manager at the Conservation Ecology Centre.

“We’ll be able to use it to draw reasonably accurate distribution maps for species we have a lot of data on, and it will also identify species we don’t know enough about and that we need to target for research,” says Jack. “Some of these tools will also be available to land managers, who will be able to use them to target their conservation efforts.”

“One of the greatest risks to the survival of the threatened plants and animals of the Otways is how little we know about them,” says Lizzie Corke, CEO of the Conservation Ecology Centre.

“We don’t exactly where they occur, how many of them there are, or the effects on them from a wide range of threats – including fire and feral predators, which makes it difficult to direct and measure conservation efforts. This project is going a long way towards addressing those gaps.”

The database is just part of a collaborative project is shedding new light on the private lives of threatened plants and animals which call Victoria’s Otway Ranges home.

The Otways Threatened Species Research Network, initiated by the Conservation Ecology Centre, is bringing together practitioners and land managers to improve information sharing around threatened species in the Otways.

“We wanted to create a hub for all the great knowledge and data being collected,” says Jack. “Firstly, to make sure we were getting the most out of the research effort, but also to ensure that all the information being collected in the region was being passed on to land managers.”

Current partners in the project include: Parks Victoria; the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning; Monash University; University of Melbourne; La Trobe University; Federation University; Deakin University; Victoria University; the Country Fire Authority (CFA); Southern Otways Landcare Network; Geelong Field Naturalists Club; and the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria.

Learn more about the Otways Threatened Species Research Network.

The Otways Threatened Species Research Network was established with the support of The Ian Potter Foundation.

Banner Image Credit: Doug Gimesy