Introducing Dr. Anita Wild – Pedder Restoration Ecologist

Dr. Anita Wild is an ecologist with over 25 years’ experience specialising in restoration ecology, ecological risk assessment of hydro and wind-power projects, ecological risk prioritisation and designing ecological management plans and monitoring programs. Anita’s PhD (with Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick) investigated the patterns and processes of natural recovery in Tasmanian alpine and subalpine plant communities following disturbance of sites up to 80 years old. This study provided a better understanding of the relative resilience of the different vegetation communities, the abiotic variables that may impede natural recovery and how to prioritise restoration treatments in these extreme environments. Anita subsequently worked for Hydro Tasmania for 10 years where she also designed and implemented studies to fulfil environmental permit conditions for renewable energy developments including changes in hydrological patterns on regulated rivers for the Basslink Inter-connector cable and other hydro-electricity developments and wind farms. From 2010, Anita has worked as an independent consultant specialising in ecology of peatlands (ecosystems with organic soils) in alpine and wetland environments, working with Park Management agencies and federal and local governments. This work has included all forms of restoration ecology from risk assessments, designing and implementing restoration programs and treatments to doing spatial modelling to prioritise risks and direct fire-fighting efforts under increasing pressure from climate change impacts.

What will Dr. Wild be doing to help us Restore Pedder? Anita will be undertaking the ecological restoration scoping study to show the ecological and social feasibility of the full restoration of Lake Pedder. Anita will bring together knowledge from local, national and international specialists to understand the scientific challenges and opportunities of restoring this irreplaceable glacial lake, rivers and peatland landscape of international significance. The study will build on and update previous work (Pedder 2000, UTas Symposium etc.) and liaise with experts in the various fields to prepare a series of public documents that identify: existing information, updated information and remaining knowledge gaps the major opportunities and risk of the project a prioritised list of studies and the timeframe and scope of work required to provide the knowledge to proceed Anita’s first step will be to engage with the ‘legacy-holders’, those with scientific knowledge of the lake, before and after damming and scientists who have undertaken subsequent research. The search for knowledge and experience will also extend to contacting international scientists who have undertaken dam removal and peatland restoration projects, notably in the US, Canada and Europe; this way, Tasmania can draw on and consolidate expertise in dam removal and ecological restoration. 

We are thrilled that Anita has joined our effort and we will be keeping you updated on her progress as she brings together the best of science on the restoration of Lake Pedder. You can read more on our restoration plans in Australian Geographic, 17 April 2019.

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