A pilot Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (MER) Network
Australia’s first trial of a Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (MER) Network is now underway. MER Networks are a new approach for governments, industry, organisations and communities to learn about the ecological management effectiveness of the programs that they are investing in to improve the status of Australia’s ecosystems and biodiversity. A key challenge for these programs is quantifying achievements and improving our capacity to undertake cost-effective restoration outcomes that are sustainable and resilient within changing landscapes and climates.
Through collaboration with policy-makers, practitioners and researchers it is possible to develop nationally integrated research infrastructure by embedding small, well-designed experimental monitoring plots within local ecological restoration programs. Networks can be designed to address targeted ecological management questions at national scales to enable and facilitate improved outcomes in future programs as well as helping practitioners to learn from their actions and make cost-effective decisions to better protect the environment using robust scientific methods.
This focus of this three year pilot is to promote national scale learning about ecosystem recovery post-fire, including areas impacted by bushfires and areas undergoing prescribed burning and weed management. It is being led by the MER Network team based at the CSIRO and the Terrestrial Environmental Research Network (TERN) and is working with Regional Land Partnerships program (RLP) Service Providers, researchers, the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment and other stakeholders to co-design and co-implement the Network.