In the early 1990s, Dr. Paul F. Downton established a series of aspirational graphics toward enthusing citizens toward rehabilitated high biodiversity value land in both natural and built environments. This work was carried forward by Urban Ecology Australia inc. at the time.
This view below is published in Dr. Downton’s book “Ecopolis – architecture and cities in a changing climate” (Springer Press, CSIRO).
This precedent is relevant to the Research Sanctuary in that it places quality mallee lands together with its plant and native animals association as complementary to man made built environment needs for biodiversity integration.
Why highlight malleefowl?
The health of natural and built environments can be assessed by reference to the complexity, vitality and resilience found there, notably in bio-diversity terms.
A quick guide to this is by reference to critical plant and animal species. Notably those which are vulnerable or endangered.
In the dry hot mallee lands, the litmus test species is the Malleefowl.
Over millennia adapted to this place, the recent centuries have brought changing conditions and new predators, to which such specialised species have struggled to adapt.
As much of the land change has been human instigated, we have both the responsibility and are the recipients of the benefits, to retain and restore biodiversity.
In re-establishing the malleefowl population to sustainable standard, we at the same time capture a biodiverse living environment for all other species including ourselves.
By emphasis on the weakest link, we avoid taking conditions to the brink for those more adaptable – ourselves.
Altruism simply is naked self interest projected into the long term.
Monarto is 60km east of the South Australian capital city Adelaide.
This permits ready access to this wildlife protection area by the metropolitan and surrounding population of 1.5 million people.
The wildlife area is clearly defined by existing and planned land revegetation. Other existing and planned land uses for the locality are located in other sectors of Monarto separate from this wildlife locale.
These two factors encourage structured malleefowl preservation together with allied activities of human interaction for research and tourism.
The planned research sanctuary draws on all these positives toward a comprehensive facility. Thereby synergies can be achieved in the one place which complement the efforts in other individual preservation nodes across the country.
It forms the open range complement to the works by Monarto Zoological Park in having a captive small enclosure population bred from retrieved eggs.
Malleefowl Preservation Group (MPG) in Western Australia has over a number decades grown its malleefowl activities in their region.
This includes the development of their research centre, public display and aviary which they have developed in Ongerup.
Appropriate safe transit between sanctuary areas is an integral part of the vision.
In Queensland, wildlife crossing between habitats have been developed as an integral part of a number of roads programs.
Indicative of this approach is this underpass construction (as part of the Atherton Tablelands project) complete with animal furniture and monitoring.