Australia's peak scientific body for ecology urged the Government to expand, not reduce ecological research capacity within CSIRO, in a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science today.
President of the Ecological Society of Australia, Associate Professor Nigel Andrew said, "Hundreds of jobs are in the firing line, in areas where Australia needs more research, not less."
"Loss of biodiversity-related researchers at CSIRO will make it harder for our members to go about their business of understanding and managing Australia's natural heritage." The ecological Society of Australia is concerned that the decision to cut staff at CSIRO will reduce Australia's capacity to deal with growing environmental problems.
"Successive governments continue pursuing rapid population growth along with compounding economic growth. Population and economic growth currently drive the major threats to Australia’s natural heritage. They drive habitat loss, over exploitation, climate change and increase the invasive species risk," said Associate Professor Andrew.
"Consequently our plants, animals and other life forms are in trouble. To life-boat Australia’s unique species through the coming years and decades, new and sophisticated approaches to conservation and land management are needed."
"Developing these new approaches will take redoubled investment in research in areas such as urban ecology, invasive species, and sustainable agriculture. It beggars belief that these are the areas slated for deep cuts at CSIRO," said Associate Professor Andrew. “The CSIRO is our national research hub. The public-good research they undertake has critical value both today and into the future: which unfortunately has been severely undervalued. Our leaders should be looking to enhance and expand these critical research positions in CSIRO, not cut them.”
The Ecological Society of Australia is the peak body representing scientists, educators and land managers with an interest in the ecology, and management of Australia’s natural heritage.
The full letter is available on the ESA web site.