International partnership examples
The Antarctic Environments Portal
Our informatics experts are developing the Antarctic Environments Portal in collaboration with Antarctica New Zealand; researchers in Australia, Belgium and Norway; and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). The portal is designed to improve knowledge sharing between scientists and policy agencies. The official launch will be in June 2015 but a beta version of the portal was demonstrated at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) and Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) meetings in Brazil this year. The meeting was attended by all signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, and delegates were enthusiastic in their praise for the portal.
The portal contains information based on peer-reviewed science drawn from a wide range of high quality papers and reports, and summarises the state of knowledge on the key issues facing Antarctica. As well as resources and links of immediate relevance to policymakers, the portal will eventually include areas for scientists to draw attention to emerging issues that require examination in more detail by both the ATCM and the CEP. Information will be open access, although there will be an authentication system for users wanting to generate content or comment on the information. The portal is not intended to be a static resource; it will continue to evolve as priorities change and as the knowledge base grows.
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®)
The OGC is an international consortium of more than 470 companies, government agencies, research organisations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. Landcare Research is an OGC member (as are LINZ and NIWA). One of our senior informatics researchers has been instrumental in initiating a new OGC working group to develop an interoperability standard for Discrete Global Grid Systems (DGGS). DGGS are of particular relevance for high performance computing (e.g. NeSI) and ‘bigdata’ challenges faced by governments and industry. There is explosive growth of both the variety and volume of spatial data and processing resources, and ensuring interoperability between them has the potential to deliver tremendous societal benefit. One of the core benefits of a DGGS is geospatial fusion on demand. In a multipleprovider environment, such fusion is only possible with an information system architecture based upon open standards. In traditional complex analyses of this type the data fusion step is most often described as the hardest and most labour intensive. There is a need for the development of a standard to enable interoperability within and between DGGS and to promote reusability, knowledge exchange, and choices between different data sources and architectures.
Global Soil Map
We have continued our work with the Global Soil Map (GSM) consortium that is making a new digital soil map of the world using state-of-the-art and emerging technologies for soil mapping and predicting soil properties at fine resolution. This new GSM will be supplemented by interpretation and functionality options to assist better decisions in a range of global issues like food production and hunger eradication, climate change, and environmental degradation. One of our senior scientists is the coordinator for the Oceania node of the project (there are eight global units) and is a representative on the international science committee; another staff member leads the Cyberinformatics Working Group. GSM is an opportunity to apply New Zealand knowledge in the global context, and to acquire methodologies that feed into our own S-map efforts including our work on mapping complex hill-country terrain in New Zealand.
Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
IPBES is the leading intergovernmental body for assessing the state of the planet's biodiversity, its ecosystems and the essential services they provide to society. IPBES is tasked with developing and implementing local, national and international policies. In 2013 Phil Lyver was appointed as one of the five ‘Western Europe and Other Groups’ members to the IPBES Multi-disciplinary Expert Panel, which is the science advisory panel to 118 United Nation members participating in this global assessment. Phil’s whakapapa and long experience in working with iwi on biodiversity projects led to his recent appointment as cochair of the Indigenous and Local Knowledge (ILK) Task Force. This group is working to ensure the participation of ILK holders and the incorporation of knowledge and practices of indigenous communities into the IPBES framework. Building a synergy among ILK systems is crucial to providing policymakers with the best available information for halting the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and fostering resilience to global change.
Global change and trade
Through this strategic investment project we are collaborating with the Computation Institute and University of Chicago to have exclusive access to global-scale simulation studies of climate impacts on crop, forest and pasture yields for our global integrated assessment modelling work for MPI. This year, we finalised high resolution crop and forest productivity simulations for New Zealand (5-km-grid scale), including how alternative management strategies perform under a changing climate and quantifying important uncertainties around these results – a significant step forward from previous simulation studies carried out in New Zealand. These simulations will be used as part of the MBIE-funded Climate Change Impacts and Implications project.
This year, we also developed a spatially detailed (5-kmgrid cell) and dynamic economic model of land-based production in New Zealand. The model is based on the New Zealand Forest and Agricultural Regional Model (NZFARM). We can assess impacts of environmental, trade and other economic policies on New Zealand’s primary sector (i.e. agriculture and forestry), including production and export value. The model was also used recently in a larger project for MfE to model the economic impacts of a range of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Landcare Research and the University of Chicago are currently exploring other outlets for this integrated assessment modelling, including using it to assess climate change impact in regions of the globe outside of the USA and New Zealand.
Australian Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
Mice can reach plague proportions in grain-growing regions of Australia. In collaboration with partners in the Australian Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, we developed ‘MouseAlert’, a prototype hybrid app enabling farmers and others to record mouse activity as they encounter the rodents; collectively the growers can provide us with extensive coverage across problem regions. We can then feed this information into spatial models, developed using NeSI High Performance Computing resources, designed to predict mouse plagues. While the prototype is now being trialled with Australian farmer ‘focus groups’, the ‘citizen science’ approach could be just as applicable to pest species monitoring and modelling in any country. The CRC-funded Australian work will also help us understand how to improve modelling (and hence management of) New Zealand’s invasive species.