The Queensland Trust for Nature is committed to undertaking scientific research on its properties and we are keen to be active contributors to Queensland becoming a world leader in nature conservation and sustainability.
To do this we are building a science program that involves collaborations with experts and science innovators from state and Commonwealth bodies, universities, and industry and community organisations, guided by a skilled QTFN team. We use rigorous scientific methods to guide reserve management and acquisition to ensure we can achieve the best conservations possible.
The Trust is engaged in a range of science-based initiatives across our reserves as featured below.
Applied Conservation Research
Queensland Trust for Nature is actively engaging with research partners to better understand the natural values and how ecosystems function to create a healthier, more resilient environment that benefits people as well as wildlife.
QTFN and the University of Queensland have formed a long-term partnership aimed at improving our ecological understanding of the koala, to inform conservation management and on-the-ground decision-making on QTFN and other reserves. The research is focused on examining the home ranges, movements and habitat preferences of koalas on QTFN properties. This helps identify core areas or important corridors and measure the success of habitat restoration efforts over time.
QTFN works closely with experienced scientists and communities to collect important knowledge of the species and communities on our properties to ensure we can manage them effectively. As our property portfolio grows, we are reliant upon the generous support of citizen scientists and collaborative programs to collect data and generate new knowledge.
Citizen science is the collaboration between professional scientists and volunteers who work together on a research project. QTFN’s citizen program has seen us collaborating with universities, community groups and science students to help with our research. The volunteers in get a chance to learn about the natural world from an expert in the field and develop skills and experience in scientific methods of inquiry. This often leads to volunteers coming becoming directly involved in using this scientific knowledge to help tackle environmental problems on our reserves.
At Koala Crossing volunteers have been helping us to conduct a comprehensive koala survey allowing us to collect data from more sites, more often, greatly improving the power of our monitoring program. Scientists from the University of Queensland Koala Ecology Group led science students and volunteers in the collection of data from over 50 plots across the 652ha property.
During the annual turtle nesting season on Avoid Island, students and teachers from universities and local schools descend on the island to assist in collecting critical data for the threatened flatback turtle. The Avoid Island experience provides an opportunity for students and professional researchers to undertake important ecological research on the island in partnership with QTFN volunteers. Avoid Island is an amazing natural laboratory that provides fantastic research trips which contribute to critical research to support the survival of this species.
Case study - QTFN and Wonder of Science secondary school trip December 2016
In December 2016, high school students from Cairns, Roma, Gordonvale and Mackay had the trip of a lifetime when they travelled to QTFN’s Avoid Island for a hands-on experience in sea turtle biology.
The students spent three days on the island learning from world-renowned sea turtle expert Dr Nancy FitzSimmons and collecting data for QTFN’s annual nesting and hatchling surveys. The 10 students worked all through the nights to ensure that information was collected for every turtle that nested on the beach. By the end of the trip QTFN waived off some very sleepy but happy students, brimming with stories and enthusiasm for how they can volunteer in next year’s survey.
The trip was part of a partnership between QTFN and the University of Queensland’s Wonder of Science program, which aims to build passion and enthusiasm for science and technology in young Queenslanders, and was supported by the Queensland's Government's Everyone's Environment grants program.
To read more about this trip - visit the Wonder of Science website on the link below:
Ecological monitoring helps us to build knowledge about the natural values of our reserves so we can manage these areas with a better understanding of their condition and how this may change over time.
Monitoring also provides information about threats, such as feral animals or weeds, so that we can act to remove quickly and efficiently. Ecological monitoring is critical to evaluating our work, such as ecological burning or pest control, so we know how well we are actually managing the reserves we seek to protect.
All our reserve management and acquisitions start with a rigorous assessment of their property’s ecological values, including mapping of vegetation communities and animal populations. This informs the development of a plan of land conservation management and identifies where long-term monitoring is required.
At Koala Crossing we have been undertaking fauna monitoring using motion-sensor camera traps to give a measure of the diversity and abundance of native animals and pest species. The data collected has informed our pest management program resulting in the active eradication of foxes and wild dogs.
We undertake regular weed surveys and monitor vegetation at fixed photo-points, where we take repeat photos at regular intervals to detect changes in the landscape.
To get involved in our ecological monitoring program, visit our volunteering page and register your interest.