Monash Progress Report 2021 – Goal 15
Monash University Progress Report 2021 on the Sustainable Development Goals
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
eDNA sampling for biodiversity monitoring View
The Macroecology Research Group in Monash Science uses field studies, environmental DNA sampling, laboratory experiments, and statistical modelling to study the impacts of environmental change on species distributions at macroecological scales.
In 2021, research conducted amongst 30 taxonomists and systematists developed a new “return on investment” approach for working out which species should be a priority for taxonomic research for conservation outcomes.
Ecology and Conservation Group View
Ecology and Conservation is one of key research areas within the Monash School of Biological Sciences. Working across freshwater, marine and terrestrial environments, from the tropics to the Antarctic, and in state-of-the-art laboratory settings, researchers are working to understand ecological processes, and the consequences of environmental change for species and the ecosystems they occupy. The work contributes to the fields of fundamental ecology and environmental science, while also promoting evidence-based conservation management and policy decisions to secure biodiversity and limit disruptions to human society.
Jock Marshall Reserve View
Jock Marshall Reserve is a three hectare ecological sanctuary that is a cornerstone for environmental education and research at Monash Clayton. The reserve was established to enhance the campus’s native environment against European landscaping ideals of the 1960’s. Since then, it has been progressively renewed to support a rich ecosystem of bird species, aquatic life and other fauna. There are facilities within the reserve that are available to conduct research including the controlled temperature rooms, a dedicated outdoor aquatic mesocosm area and fully equipped greenhouses. The reserve is accessible to the community via the nature walk and through science experience programs, which provides exposure to the research activities that are being undertaken within.
Virtual landscapes to study endangered Australian View
Researchers from Monash University’s SensiLab, and a team of ecologists from CSIRO, have developed immersive virtual landscapes of intact endangered Australian ecosystems to accurately illustrate changes across time, seasons and following disturbances like bushfires. The study created a virtual reality model of an Australian Box Gum Grassy Woodland landscape, an endangered eucalypt woodland ecosystem that is difficult to observe in its intact pre-European colonisation form. The models could be used as a resource for ecological study and conservation.
2021 Publications Performance View
Mean Field Weighted Citation Impact of Monash Outputs: 1.57
Number of Monash Research Outputs: 95
Unit statistics and highlights View
In 2021, 99 units directly related to SDG15 were offered across Monash University, with a total enrolment of 4,720 students.
The units highlighted below are a small sample of the units at Monash relating to life on land:
Victorian Genetic Risk Index View
Genetic diversity is important in conservation planning and policy, and Victoria is leading the way in using genetics in biodiversity conservation. We are using the Victorian Genetic Risk Index tool to inform our conservation planning and prioritisation. The index was developed in partnership with CESAR, Monash University, and the University of Melbourne. It describes the genetic health of over 1,100 species of plants and animals in Victoria. The index groups species into low, medium, high, very high and uncertain risk categories.
Natural Capital Investment Initiative View
The Natural Capital Investment Initiative part of Climateworks Centre’s Land Use Futures initiative, is focused on helping to create the tools and resources to support farmers and land managers across Australia efficiently measure their natural capital. In 2021, the project completed Phase 1, through the development of an open-source Natural Capital Measurement Catalogue (NCMC), which outlines a comprehensive set of natural capital measures and metrics at the property level.
Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future View
Monash-led program, Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF), is an Antarctic research program, funded by the Australian Research Council as a Special Research Initiative. Established in 2021, its mission is to understand the changes taking place across the Antarctic region – to its climate and its biodiversity – and develop innovative ways to forecast, mitigate and manage these changes. SAEF also seeks to collaborate with policymakers to identify conservation priorities and help make the right decisions for Antarctica’s future. The initiative is funded for seven years, to ambitiously push to protect the future of Antarctica, and the planet.
Hazardous waste View
Hazardous waste is waste that poses a threat or risk to public health, safety and/or the environment. This includes batteries and waste generated in laboratories and some research or teaching activities also referred to as prescribed industrial waste. Our disposal processes and policies ensure hazardous materials can be safely collected and where possible recovered, while protecting the environment and human health.
Campus ecosystem View
Monash University’s landscapes and Indigenous flora, with an estimated value of more than $100 million, are designated by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects as being nationally significant. They’re critically important to the University’s campus amenity and identity. Embedded in the campus masterplans is a commitment to sustain a rich biodiversity on each campus, acknowledging local contexts. The masterplans for each Victorian campus include clear deliverables and metrics for the infrastructure and landscape development to achieve University aspirations, including sustainability goals.
Single-use elimination strategy View
Monash University has committed to eliminate single-use retail plastics across all its Australian campuses by 2023. Our Ditch Disposables campaign was launched in 2019, encouraging customers to bring their own cup or container, dine in, or borrow reusable containers as a way to reduce disposables. Monash also trialled waste-free dining at new food retail outlets, providing reusable crockery and cutlery, accepting clean customer containers, and using only compostable takeaway packaging.