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The Australian Ecosystems Models Framework

The Australian Ecosystem Models Framework project is collating, synthesising and summarising scientific knowledge of ecosystem dynamics and will capture this knowledge in a set of  dynamic ecosystem models.  These models will describe the dynamic characteristics and drivers of Australian ecosystems in their natural states.  They can also describe the attributes of ecosystems in modified condition states, and the anthropogenic disturbances and interventions that can transition ecosystems between condition states.

Ecosystem dynamics are the relationships between and among both biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems, as well as their responses to natural and non-natural disturbances. Natural resource managers require an understanding of ecosystem dynamics in order to make informed management decisions that take into account the condition status and known responses of any given ecosystem.

The dynamic ecosystem models will be developed through best-available expert knowledge of ecosystem characteristics and dynamics.  This includes through expert workshops and literature reviews.

A set of foundational dynamic ecosystem models will be organised into a network-style information framework which can be continuously updated as new information comes to hand. The models have the potential to:

  • provide the conceptual architecture for a national system of environmental accounts
  • be developed into detailed, quantitative / mechanistic models
  • underpin an integrated knowledge management system that can incorporate additional understanding of ecosystem dynamics over time, including ecosystem responses to climate change
  • provide a robust architecture for natural resource management prioritisation, as well as monitoring and evaluation activities, including supporting the development of methods to assess ecosystem resilience.

The first phase of this project will run until June 2018.

More detail is available in the project flier.