Knowledge themes

OEH’s major areas of research fall under 7 knowledge themes. All themes offer opportunities for research partnerships.

A squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) on a branchGoal

Conserve biological diversity, ecological processes and systems

Focus areas

Manage native vegetation more effectively

Upgrade the Vegetation Information System and continue mapping NSW plant community types, to assist landholders, planning authorities and regulators to manage native vegetation.

Improve ecosystem management through adaptive management science

Conduct scientific trials in river red gum reserves in the Riverina to improve adaptive management of ecosystems.

Conserve species

Undertake research to develop management priorities for threatened species. Continue the WildCount program to detect fauna trends and changes over time.

Manage fire and invasive species

Undertake research in OEH’s Living with Fire strategy to improve fire management in national parks. Determine the impacts of invasive species on biodiversity, national parks and local communities.

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Research partnerships

Biodiversity

An inspection vehicle driving on an eroded sandy beachGoal

Understand and adapt to the impacts of climate change

Focus areas

Understand climate systems

Deliver fine-scale climate projections for NSW, and information on the likely impacts of climate change on regional communities to help communities adapt.

Understand the impacts of climate change on our systems

Develop information on the likely impacts of climate change at regional scales which will be provided to regional decision makers through an online portal.

Understand risks across regions and service providers

Study the potential impacts of climate change to help various sectors improve service delivery. Develop potential adaptation responses for communities and industries which are most vulnerable to climate change.

Understand and build adaptive capacity

Study cost-effective options to enable communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

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Research partnerships

Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation

Green grass and trees by the seaGoal

Protect and enhance the values of the coast, estuaries and marine environments.

Focus areas

Share coastal knowledge to improve decision-making

Deliver the Coastal Information System for easy online access to coastal information, including digital elevation models, hazard assessments and management plans.

Manage risks and build prosperous communities

Help coastal planners and communities understand the risks of erosion and inundation, to assist in land-use planning, asset protection and emergency response.

Build healthy communities through healthy estuaries

Model estuary conditions and undertake research to help communities and stakeholders protect estuaries for a sustainable future.

Respond to NSW Government marine management reforms

Update the priority knowledge needs and actions for the Knowledge Strategy in line with NSW Government reforms for the management of the marine estate.

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Research partnerships

Coastal, Estuarine and Marine Environments

Three people with a tablet in a bush settingGoal

Promote integrated landscape management for long-term ecological, cultural, social and economic sustainability

Focus areas

Enable better management decisions

Increase access to natural resource data and information to agencies, communities and landholders.

Build resilient, connected landscapes

Progress the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative to restore landscape connectivity and resilience, by managing invasive species, rehabilitating habitat, and developing private land conservation agreements.

Apply traditional Aboriginal knowledge to manage landscapes

Work with Aboriginal communities to understand Aboriginal land management and further integrate Aboriginal knowledge into current practices.

Support healthy and sustainable landscapes

Provide scientific input to support NSW Government strategic planning initiatives. Assess burned areas, study hydrogeological landscapes and map groundcover.

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Research partnerships

Landscape Management

A man using an air monitorGoal

Reduce the risks of harm from pollution to human health and the environment while protecting, restoring and enhancing the quality of the environment

Focus areas

Monitor air quality and analyse particle emissions

Continue to monitor air quality in NSW. Establish new monitoring stations as needed for the NSW air-quality monitoring network.

Minimise pollutant emissions and develop cleaner technologies

Study the long-term impacts of alternative waste treatment technologies on the environment and human health to increase recycling of waste products.

Improve tools and resources to minimise pollution

Provide expert input and advice to revise national guidelines for pollutants and polluting activities. Assess the risks to human health and the environment from pollutants, contaminated sites and polluting processes.

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Research partnerships

Pollution

Two white wind turbines against a blue skyGoal

Understand and improve resource efficiency for a more sustainable, productive and environmentally healthy NSW.

Focus areas

Support improved resource efficiency

Collect and share resource efficiency data and evaluation in a format that will assist householders, businesses and government agencies to be aware of and take control of their energy consumption.

Trial new ways to more efficiently and cost-effectively use resources, manage assets, and encourage resource recovery, within our own organisations (OEH and EPA).

Understand the costs and benefits, including social, environmental and economic, of resource efficiency

Increase awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency and productivity beyond the economic benefits.

Enable effective government decision-making and improved understanding of the interrelationships between environmental and economic policies.

Understand the behavioural and cultural opportunities for NSW residents to improve resource efficiency

Conduct the Who Cares About the Environment survey every three years to understand NSW residents’ sentiment towards the environment.

Develop a deeper understanding of how business drivers and market segmentation impact on resource efficiency.

Understand the barriers to, and benefits of, resource efficiency

Examine various housing accreditation schemes, and the uptake of sustainability and energy efficiency in the housing market.

Investigate the current energy usage of targeted, high-energy users and their barriers to energy productivity.

Explore the financial barriers to investment in clean energy opportunities and quantify the return on such investments. 

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Research partnerships

Resource efficiency

A river winding through a green wetlandGoal

Maintain and improve the extent and condition of wetland, riverine and groundwater systems

Focus areas

Ensure targeted and effective allocation of environmental water

Improve monitoring techniques and predictive models to support the management of environmental water.

Support management actions by tracking the health of water and wetlands

Provide frameworks, data and assessment services to monitor the health of rivers and wetlands.

Improve floodplain management

Develop Floodplain Management Plans for inland catchments. Identify aquatic ecological assets and their water requirements.

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Research partnerships

Water and Wetlands