Griffith University: EcoCommons – mapping the future in environmentally challenging times

Griffith University is driving the construction of EcoCommons, a world-first collaborative platform for analysing and modelling ecological and environmental challenges.

As its major partner, Griffith University’s eResearch Services is hosting the EcoCommons development project team with half of EcoCommon’s $5.2 million funding awarded to Griffith’s Climate Change Response Program.


“With Australia’s environment being transformed by human activity and climate change there’s an urgent need to facilitate collaboration and create a pipeline between research and decision making,” said Professor Brendan Mackey Director of the Griffith Climate Action Beacon (CAB).

“EcoCommons will raise the bar for species distribution modelling and provide a one-stop shop for Australian researchers to access trusted species distribution and environment/climate datasets, modelling tools, and training resources to produce research that informs environmental policy.

“It will enable comprehensive sensitivity analysis, model selection and workflow documentation allowing full experiment replication – a hallmark of scientific methodology.”

The developers are looking for people to become EcoCommons Pioneers to help test the platform and provide feedback.

EcoCommons joins other critical mapping tools CoastAdapt and Bushfire Mapping that Griffith University’s National Climate Change Adaptation and Research Facility and CAB have helped develop.

“It will vastly expand the functional ability of current maps generated in CoastAdapt or using the Bushfire Mapping tool,” Professor Mackey said.


“For example, bushfire mapping could now be used with currently available data and scientific workflows within the Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory to assess the impacts of the 2019-20 megafires on wildlife species, as demonstrated for the superb lyrebird and the sooty owl.

CoastAdapt delivers information and decision support for risk assessment and planning around coastal changes in Australia related to climate change and sea-level rise.

“CoastAdapt includes tools like the “Shoreline Explorer” which provides a map and associated information on current coastal sensitivity to flooding and erosion in an area,” said Professor Jean Palutikof from Cities Research Institute.

“It also provides forecasts, in the form of graphs and maps, of the anticipated sea-level rise for each coastal local government area.”

On threatened species day EcoCommons launched a new website to support the platform development.

The expanded website provides information about EcoCommons Australia, the platform’s launch in 2022, and how the gateway can be used to access the modelling tools and datasets available.

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