University of Tasmania

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Studies in nature conservation

posted on 2023-05-27, 22:24 authored by James KirkpatrickJames Kirkpatrick
The papers enclosed in this volume were all created with one major motivation, to contribute to the conservation of nature, defining nature in its dualistic sense. In paper 1.1, I described several ways in which biogeographers/ecologists can help create positive outcomes for nature through the research work that they choose to undertake, ranging from revealing interesting stories that might arouse public interest in nature conservation to the provision of a technical and knowledge foundation for conservation measures in matters of public dispute. Paper 1.2 argues the proposition that the particular may be more important than the general in gaining the types of ecological understandings that might enable practical nature conservation. Some of the ethical underpinnings of my research work are discussed in paper 1.3, the main, and unexceptional, point being that ecologists should base their public utterances on an honest reading of their always inadequate data. Attachment to ideas/generalizations/hypotheses can be bad for both science and the living world. The few people who will read this volume will probably pick up some instances of hypothesis drift, where the initial guiding proposition proves less interesting than a byproduct of the research process, and many instances of hypothesis reversal, where an idea that seemed excellent in relation to the data available at the time proves to be incorrect in a context of more data or a wider understanding. The work in the present thesis was focused largely on Tasmania, a State of islands in the Commonwealth of Australia, constituting approximately 6.9 million ha of land, of which approximately 70% had not been cleared or inundated by 2005. The late Professor Bill Jackson believed that plant ecologists could only be proficient in their trade by knowing an area for decades. Whatever the truth of this proposition, longevity in a place does allow decades scale observations that can often be more powerful than natural or induced experiments in contributing towards an understanding of natural processes (e.g. 6.3.2, 3.1.16; 3.1.17; 5.4). The size and environmental heterogeneity of Tasmania have made it an excellent laboratory for the development and testing of ecological and conservation planning ideas and techniques, many of which have much wider relevance than to one small set of islands.


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Copyright 2005 the author. The two file volume consists of published papers that cannot be made available from this repository for copyright or proprietary reasons. We have included a separate file which consists of the frontmatter to the collection and includes the full list of contents, so interested parties can source the papers elsewhere. Thesis (DSc)--University of Tasmania, 2005. Includes bibliographical references

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