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Supporting Australia's World Heritage Sites

Blog Post - Supporting Australia's World Heritage Sites

This Saturday, 18 April is World Heritage Day which recognises Monuments and Sites, with a theme of shared cultures, shared heritage and shared responsibility.

The Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife is proud to have awarded the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute (BMWHI) with a grant to undertake a citizen science project which will monitor the impacts of climate change on the ecosystems of The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area of Australia.

Following the impact of the 2019/20 bushfires, which affected approximately 80% of the million hectares of national park and wilderness, the project will monitor flora and fauna and the impact on threatened ecosystems like upland swamps, facing intensifying drought, fire and local flooding. Monitoring activities will span across Blackheath, Katoomba, Wentworth Falls, Lawson and Springwood, totalling 28 sites overall.


Photo courtesy of Roger Lembit

Dr John Merson from BMWHI said the findings will enhance community capacity and knowledge, enabling beyond-the-project monitoring programs to be maintained and developed.

“We are installing new equipment, including camera traps, cameras and audio recording devices to monitor all five eco-system types including rainforest, wet sclerophyll, dry sclerophyll, heath and swamps. A new App is also being developed that will feed data into the BioCollect system for inclusion in the Atlas of Living Australia.”


Teams will make weekly site visits to record images and collect data, with the findings being published via community events, online, newsletters, reports and journal articles.

Currently, NSW National Parks and Services has closed all historic sites in response to the COVID-19 emergency, however John Merson from BMWHI encourages visitation in future.

“The biodiversity and unique ecosystems of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area provide clean air and water to the Greater Sydney region, and its extraordinary beauty attracts over five million visitors a year.

Nature is slowly but surely recovering from the devastating fires of the past few months, but many species will be struggling. Much like testing for the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to gather as much information as possible to understand the impacts of more extreme fires, and weather conditions driven by climate change. During this challenging time, we are following strict distancing protocols while still aiming to gather as much data as possible, so we can continue to nurture and conserve this exceptional place.”


FNPW is also supporting a project in the Gondwana Rainforest region through the "Saving Our Species" project for the Albert's Lyrebird and supported the acquisition of Nilpena Station fossil sites that are part of the World Heritage bid by the SA Government.

 

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