As someone who likes to go against herd mentality and challenge what we do with the goal to improve environmental performance in our industry, I admit that recently I didn’t take my own advice.
In previous blogs, I’ve promoted the need to question the science, government guidelines and procedures, and general environmental performance measures. I’ve given some nice examples of situations, where I have asked such questions and received positive outcomes:
Ask the Right Question for Approvals #1
Ask the Right Question for Approvals #2
Ask the Right Question for Approvals #3
However, a client recently asked me to consider the option to move mature plants from a disturbance footprint to a nearby location (a translocation). My response was simply, “Australian species are deep rooted and wont survive being dug up and moved. This technique is better suited to species from temperate or tropical environments.” I obviously did not take my own advice. This information was engrained in my thinking because it had been taught to me during my undergraduate degree.
As it turns out, I’ve since discovered through my same client, another mining company have conducted a trial to move individuals of a small Declared Rare Flora (DRF) shrub species from one location to another and have had success. So, my lesson learned was that even though we are told that something cannot be done (through our university education or other means), we should not hesitate to challenge the known knowledge and at the very least, trial these ideas and open our minds to the possibilities.
Translocating mature plants has some broader implications for the conservation of Declared Rare Flora species in Australia where mining or other industries have the potential to impact a subset of the population.
I pride myself on questioning the known knowledge and resolving issues by doing so, but on this occasion I had not opened my mind to the possibility of trialling something different. I confess I am still skeptical but I am excited that this client is open to trying something relatively new on the basis that others have done the same and received promising results.