Enhancing Cultural, Conservation and Restoration Outcomes in Western Sydney

A Research Strategy to support the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan

Western Sydney University has been awarded $1.8 million by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to develop a Research Strategy to support the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan (opens in a new window), and to implement the first four years of research under the program.

The Strategy is being developed by a team from Western Sydney University in collaboration with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

The vision of the Strategy is to deliver high quality research on strategically important topics to support the effective delivery of the Conservation Plan. Research delivered under the strategy will greatly improve knowledge about Western Sydney’s threatened species and ecosystems and our ability to manage them, especially in the face of climate change and rapid development. The Strategy will also recognise the need to integrate Aboriginal knowledges and practices into conservation approaches in partnership with Aboriginal people including Traditional Custodians in Western Sydney.

The Strategy is being informed by consulting with Aboriginal, community, conservation, government, university and industry groups to ensure that research investment will deliver the new knowledge needed by the stakeholders who are working to conserve and restore the plants and animals of the Cumberland Plain.

The draft Strategy proposes research priorities within four core themes:

  1. Supporting Aboriginal connections: Partnering with Aboriginal peoples on research which helps maintain their distinctive cultural, spiritual, physical and economic relationships with their land and waters in Western Sydney.
  2. Engaging with peoples and cultures: Understanding how the community values biodiversity and conservation, how attitudes change through engagement, and how Aboriginal knowledge, connection to Country, and cultural practices can enhance conservation and restoration outcomes.
  3. Conserving threatened species and ecosystems: Understanding the ecology, habitat requirements, and geographic distribution of species and ecological communities, and in particular, their likely responses to changing land use and climate.
  4. Restoring and reconstructing ecosystems: Understanding how to successfully restore ecosystems and overcome barriers to enable the reconstruction of functional habitats on degraded land to enhance the extent and value of conservation areas in the Cumberland Plain.

The Research Strategy identifies research priorities that cut across in four key themes.

CPCP - 4 Key Themes

The development of this Research Strategy focuses on identifying knowledge gaps which are impediments to effective conservation action, and then scoping and prioritising corresponding research, considering factors like cost, time required and anticipated benefits.

The process builds on existing knowledge and involves extensive collaboration with stakeholders and research partners from government, university, industry, conservation, community, and Aboriginal groups. This process ensures the identification of research which will provide the greatest benefit to the delivery of the Conservation Plan.

Process of developing the Research Strategy

Process of Developing CPCP Research Strategy


Program LeadPaul Rymer
Supporting Aboriginal connectionsGawaian Bodkin-Andrews
Engaging with peoples and culturesNeil Perry
Conserving threatened species and ecosystemsPaul Rymer
Restoring and reconstructing ecosystemsUffe Nielsen
Chief InvestigatorsMatthias Boer; Yolima CarrilloBen Moore; Rachael Nolan; Elise Pendall; Jeff Powell; Markus RieglerJuan Francisco Salazar Sutil;