The national parks, nature reserves and wetlands of the semi-arid wheatbelt of Western Australia with their rich diversity of flora and fauna are the backdrop for new research to improve the management of natural resources in the 21st century.
The project will combine the latest ideas in computer science at The University of Nottingham with the pioneering ambitions of forward-thinking Australian environmental planners.
Researchers from the University's Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute are working with the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) to create new software tools and processes to create a new environmental planning framework called Value-Plan.
Specifically, the goal of the research project is to acquire accurate information on the values people like farmers, industry professionals and conservationists attach to a wide variety of biological assets in Australia and incorporate this into a new environmental planning approach.
The new survey tools and intelligent data software to be researched and developed will inform decision-making at government level in the field of sustainable development and environmental policy planning. It is hoped the approach will ultimately be adopted by government and non-government organisations alike, and could be applicable to a diverse range of management applications, including town planning and natural resource management.
The system will be trialled over the next two years in two conservation areas of Western Australia, and initial work has already begun at the Lake Warden Natural Diversity Recovery Catchment near Esperance.
Dr Christian Wagner, computer scientist from the University's Horizon Institute, has just returned from a research trip to Western Australia. He said:
"This project has the potential to inform policy making in environmental conservation all over the world. For example, decisions ranging from town
|Contact: Emma Rayner|
University of Nottingham