Over the last year a colleague and I have been taking part in a competition called the Quarry Life Award, an international competition which is run by Hanson Cement. To take part in the competition projects must investigate and/or improve the biodiversity at mining sites. The sites that we had to play with were offset sites in the Victorian Volcanic Plains ecosystem.
In our project we created a Bayesian State-and-Transition model that was informed by the literature and could be used to inform management decisions. This model included the most common grassland management options and assessed their success at improving plant species richness and decreasing weed cover. It also considered the financial and social costs associated with conducting the different management actions. From our research it was evident that in terms of financial and social costs as well as benefits in terms of species richness and weed control, burning was the best management option.
On Friday night we were awarded with first place in the Australian branch of the competition.