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Bioregions in Australia - Masterclass with Gethin Morgan

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Event description

Join us for a fascinating masterclass that helps us understand Australia's bioregions.


If we are to transform human societies so that we live sustainably within the regenerative capacity of the living world, we need to first understand our unique environment and rethink our relationship with our local bioregions.

A bioregion is an area of land or sea defined by common patterns of natural characteristics and environmental processes (such as geology, landform patterns, climate, ecological features and plant and animal communities). A bioregion is smaller than an ecoregion, but larger than an ecosystem or catchment area. A bioregion’s borders are defined by natural boundaries such as mountain ranges and soil types (rather than the political boundaries of many maps). Australia has 89 bioregions and each one is a unique collection of ecological communities, which experiences different patterns of human land use.


Gethin Morgan is a pioneer of bioregional classification in Australia, co-authoring the delineation of bioregions and subregions in Queensland in 1975, and over most of NSW in 1986. In 1990 he prepared a bioregional land use plan for the New England Tableland.

From 1989 he refined a regional ecosystem classification system integrating geology, geomorphology, soils and vegetation. This robust but flexible classification provides a strong predictive framework for ecosystem occurrence, natural values, and land capabilities and constraints. It is now an essential tool for mapping and collating data for land use planning and management in Queensland.

In 1995 Gethin helped guide the delineation of a national bioregional
framework, and in 2001 worked with the states and territories to develop
the first national sub-regionalisation.


In our masterclass, Gethin Morgan will:

** provide an overview of the history and processes used to develop the bioregional and sub-regional classification system in Australia;

** explain the scientific differences between bioregions, sub-regions, catchments (watersheds) and ecosystems;

** explain why bioregions are important for understanding ecological systems, ecological integrity and ecological limits;

** provide examples of key characteristics and features of selected bioregions around Australia.

The masterclass will be facilitated by AELA's National Convenor, Dr Michelle Maloney.

Michelle and Gethin will conclude the Masterclass with a discussion about how bioregions can form a critical foundation for sustainability efforts.


This workshop is part of a series of important events designed to increase knowledge about Australia's unique environments, and connect that knowledge to understanding our ecological limits, including the concept of "Planetary Boundaries".

In AELA's new annual series, we will learn from world leading scientists, economists, lawyers and regenerative communities, about how Planetary Boundaries can help us understand the ecological limits of our world, and how we can use bioregions as a regional and local foundation to take action toward a more sustainable pathway for human societies.


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