in the nature

Bird Conservation Scholars 2019: Erin Harris

Erin Harris received the first-ever Bird Conservation Fund Scholarship. The University of Tasmania Masters student investigated the effectiveness of eagle nest protection zones. Little is known about the efficacy of covenants on eagle nests in Tasmania, and Erin’s work will help determine if prescriptions are working and how management may differ on nests found on unprotected land.

Project summary

Over the last two decades conservation covenants have become the primary mechanism for securing important biodiversity values outcomes on private land in Tasmania, including the protection of threatened eagle nests. Eagle ecology in Tasmania and the role of conservation covenants on nests is a complex issue with environmental and social components both playing an influencing role.

With a view to understanding the effectiveness of conservation covenants in providing adequate protection of eagle breeding sites, University of Tasmania Master of Environmental Management student Erin Harris, under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Harwood (UTAS), Dr. Sally Bryant (TLC) and Nick Mooney, documented the activity status of eagle nests during the 2018-2019 breeding season across three management regimes: Private land protected by Covenants; Permanent Timber Production Zones and unprotected private freehold land. Furthermore, Erin also conducted social surveys and interviews with private landholders of covenanted and non-covenanted properties to understand why landholders engage in conservation covenanting programs, their attitudes towards these programs and eagle nest protection and how covenants change their land management practices.