Junior Novera wins Allison Sudradjat Prize

PhD candidate Junior Novera, supervised by Professor Salit Kark and Associate Professor Diana Fisher, has been awarded an Allison Sudradjat Prize. Each year, six outstanding Australia Awards Scholarship recipients (four from Indonesia and two from Papua New Guinea) are awarded this prize. It honours the memory of Allison Sudradhjat, who was AUSAID’s Minister Counsellor in Indonesia, and her significant contribution to Asia-Pacific cooperation and development, especially between Australia and Indonesia, PNG and Timor Leste. The prize is intended to support scholars to undertake additional activities related to their course of study and their intended contributions in their country.

Restoring forest in Bougainville

Junior, one of the two Papua New Guinean prize recipients, is using the prize money to support high-priority conservation projects in the Kunua District and Mt Balbi Key Biodiversity Area in the north of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. One of these projects, a native tree nursery, will restore degraded forest and floodways in these areas, and replanting the rainforest will protect native wildlife from extreme weather conditions and  offer healthy and sustainable food sources for the local people. The native fauna spread seeds, help pollinate plants and feed on insects that destroy crop plants.

By replanting native forests, Junior’s team is also protecting native wildlife, plants and habitats from effects of climate change such as inland flooding caused by altered and extreme weather conditions like cyclones and heat waves.

Protected areas of the future

While Junior’s main focus is long-term biodiversity conservation, replanting rainforest will facilitate carbon absorption in forested Bougainville and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on the island. Junior and the local communities in Kunua are working together to establish the Kunua Conservation Network, and plan to declare the Kunua Plains and Mt Balbi KBA protected areas by 2030.

This work and additional discussion about “backyard conservation” in customary owned lands is presented in a paper by Junior Novera and Salit Kark that will be the first in a series and a special issue about local and Indigenous ecological knowledge in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Novera, J., & Kark, S. (2022) Backyard conservation in traditionally owned lands. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2022.08.006


Teaser image: Junior Novera doing field work during his PhD project on the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

Image above: Junior in discussion with community members in customary owned lands in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Photo credit - Steve Richards, Australia Awards

Project members

Junior Novera

PhD student
School of the Environment
Kark Biodiversity Group

Professor Salit Kark

School of the Environment

Associate Professor Diana Fisher

Associate Professor
School of the Environment