It’s a gob-smackingly great idea. You take two heritage specialists and a 3D camera kit, send them out to a remote Australian Alps hut and in a blink, limitless numbers of people are able to visit that hut: year round, from anywhere in the world – virtually.
And just like someone who visits, in person, one of these iconic cultural heritage sites, a virtual visitor can wander around, explore at their own pace, examine the materials used, the methods of construction, the evidence of the hut’s social past.
Find out more in the latest Australian Alps E-Blast.
In autumn 2019, the Australian Alps National Parks Co-operative Management Program working with Parks Victoria, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and ACT Parks and Conservation Service undertook a feral horse aerial survey in the Australian Alps. The 2019 survey followed the 2014 model, by employing the same operational and statistical methodology. This allowed for the estimation of both the current population and the change in horse numbers in the surveyed areas over the past five years.
Results from both the 2014 and 2019 Australian Alps Feral Horse Aerial Survey indicate that the overall Australian Alps feral horse population is large, widespread and continues to increase in size. The estimated overall feral horse population within the combined surveyed areas has more than doubled over the 5 years between the 2014 and 2019 surveys.
Combining estimates for each of the three blocks surveyed, the population across the surveyed Australian Alps area increased from an estimated 9,190 in 2014 to 25,318 in 2019. This is an increase of 23% per annum.
Such rates of population growth and increase are consistent with international research, survey and monitoring of feral horse populations across the world.
The methods used for the Australian Alps feral horse aerial survey are widely used by expert wildlife biologists and land managers around the world to estimate the density and size of wild populations of animals. They are widely accepted as providing robust and credible results. Studies using these methods have been published widely in peer-reviewed international scientific literature.
The survey design, methodology and analysis for the Australian Alps Feral Horse Survey 2019 has been independently peer reviewed by external experts from St Andrews University, Scotland who are international experts in the application of Distance sampling survey techniques and CSIRO Australia to verify that the survey, analysis and reported results are scientifically rigorous and robust.
The Alps Program has previously co-ordinated horse aerial surveys in 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2014, so this was the latest in a long running monitoring program that has provided valuable information to land managers, scientists and other stakeholders.
The results of this large-scale aerial survey give the most comprehensive picture to date of feral horse numbers, range and population trends across the Australian Alps. It is vital information that will contribute to future scientific research and inform evidence based adaptive management by Parks’ agencies.
Tablets and smartphones are revolutionizing the way we map, record data and communicate. They are relacing field guides, maps, cameras and GPS units. This edition of News from the Alps is all about harnessing the power of new technology for land management. There’s a great case study from the ACT where the Collector App is used to map weed operations across the Territory. There’s a list of useful apps, plus tips and tricks for newcomers. Technology has the potential to dramatically improve cross border co-operative management. Enjoy.
The Australian Alps bioregion covers barely 0.2% of mainland Australia and yet is estimated to contribute 29% of average inflows into the Murray Darling basin catchment. We live in the hottest, driest, flattest inhabited continent on the planet and there is no more precious resource than water. The Australian Alps are a virtual dam; they supply reliable, clean, base load water that grows food, generates electricity and supports communities. The health of the Australian Alps is a matter of national economic, social and environmental significance. In this 2011 Summary Report by Graeme Worboys & Roger Good, they discuss catchment conditions, trends in condition, threats and makes policy recommendations.
The Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology is pleased to announce details of its 2017 Alpine Ecology Course. This is an exciting opportunity to learn about the plants, animals, land-forms and soils that make up alpine ecosystems. The course is designed for people who are involved in natural resource management or conservation activities in alpine and other natural environments. Download an application form here.
Happy Birthday everyone. It’s truly wonderful to see that the Australian Alps nation parks Co-operative Management Program is now marking its 30th year. To celebrate, we’ve crammed this issue of News from the Alps with stories from every perspective. Discover just how politically challenging it was in 1986 to get a cross border co-operative management program across the line. Skip down memory lane with a few past Program Managers and be inspired by the story of the Australian Alps Walking Track. There’s lots to see and enjoy in this souvenir edition, and it all celebrates a visionary decision made three decades ago.