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2017 BHERT Award for
Outstanding Collaboration for National (non-economic) Benefit

Award Winners for Outstanding Collaboration for National (non-economic) Benefit

Awarded to

  • Macquarie University
  • NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Western Sydney University
  • Royal Botanical Gardens and Domain Trust
  • James Cook University
  • University of New Brunswick (Canada)
  • University of Canberra
  • Imperial College London


Project: The Biodiversity Node of the NSW Adaptation Research Hub

The Biodiversity Node of the NSW Adaptation Research Hub was established in 2013, and leverages the State’s multidisciplinary science capacities to produce research that directly informs the decision making of NSW agencies. The partnership between Macquarie University and the NSW Government aims to maximise the resilience of species and ecosystems to climate variability with improved management and decision-making based on science. Funding received has been used to support 18 research projects and has brought together 64 individual researchers from 16 institutions and agencies across Australia. It has been successful in developing actionable recommendations.


Species on the move
Southern Corroboree Frog
Credit Dave Hunter/OEH

Remote Sensing of Alpine Weeds
Orange Hawkweek
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Scanning of pests and pathogens
Myrtle Rust Infection on a Broad-Leaved Paperbark Sapling
Credit Laura Fernandez/Macquarie University

The NSW Government, through the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), established the NSW Adaptation Research Hub in 2013. The Node initially received funding for three years and recently gained a two-year extension. Total contributions from all sources are over $6 million. Macquarie University (MQ) hosts the Biodiversity Node.

The innovative element of the Biodiversity Node model stems from the deep engagement of academic researchers with government decisionmakers. Four examples of Node projects that are particularly innovative include:

  • Where to run or hide: Identifying likely climate refugia and corridors to support species range shift.
  • Weed Futures: Risk assessment tool for exotic plants under future climates.
  • Wildlife disease surveillance.
  • Remote sensing of alpine weeds.

The nature of climate change impacts on individual species and ecological communities, remains uncertain. Projects undertaken focus on improving understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of species to climate change, on providing information to support decision-making for optimal conservation outcomes, and on examining the climate-readiness of current conservation practices.

The Node develops online climate tools designed to provide users with evidence-based information into the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, and assist decision-makers with adaptation planning.

All projects have been co-designed and co-led by academic researchers and OEH scientists. The Biodiversity Node has collaborated with OEH to create and deliver practical guidelines underpinned by scientific research to support the management of biodiversity conservation in NSW under climate change. Products include a suite of evidence-based online climate tools including:

  • Niche Finder: baseline maps of ecological ranges and climate niches.
  • Threatened Species: predicting the vulnerability of NSW threatened species to climate change.
  • Weed Futures: predicting weed risk in response to climate change.
  • Climate Ready Revegetation: step-by-step instructions on revegetation planning for future climates. 

After completion of current support in 2018, the Biodiversity Node will seek further support from government and community, based on the success of its programme.

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