Strong beginnings to a bright future: Natural history in the Royal National Park and the need to better integrate research into park management.

Michael B. Treanor


The study of national history in all its forms has been at the core of Royal National Park, one of the first national parks in the world, since its very beginnings in 1879. Along with the neighbouring Heathcote National Park, it has played an important part in the foundation of the conservation movement in Australia and the basis for national park management throughout the country. On 29-30 September 2011, the Linnean Society of NSW convened a symposium on the natural history of Royal National Park and its surrounds, bringing together a wealth of research on a broad spectrum of topics that reflect the diverse values and management issues of the area. As a prelude to the proceedings of the Symposium, I outline the challenges and opportunities facing managers and researchers alike. These include the need to clearly identify and prioritise issues and topics most in need of attention, constraints imposed by limited resources and utilisation of expertise and skills locally and willingly available. Also, I discuss some unique tools and techniques managers use to understand, utilise and implement recommendations from research undertaken in the Park every year. Finally, I look at where we can go from our current situation, to make better and more targeted use of research and experts to help shape the future of all parks. This includes how NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) can better connect, communicate and work with research organisations and individual experts and volunteers alike for the mutual betterment of the unique environment and heritage in Royal National Park, and make it a centre for nature history research.

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