2010 recipient Professor Sir Alan Mark

Mountain tops to ocean depths: involvement with a range of ecological/environmental issues, mainly in the south.

The Charles Fleming Lecturer for 2011 is Professor Sir Alan Mark FRSNZ from the Department of Botany, University of Otago, Dunedin. Professor Mark was awarded the Charles Fleming Award for Environmental Achievement in 2010.


I will describe a lifetime involvement with pure and applied ecological studies of the indigenous upland snow tussock grasslands (mostly with the Hellaby Indigenous Grasslands Research Trust). This has been aimed at understanding the grassland ecology, its sustainable management and ecosystem services, particularly the impacts of burning and mammalian grazing, and the unpredictably high water yields. This research has been interspersed with shorter-term opportunistic indulgences in ecopolitics, ranging from the conservation of indigenous grasslands and associated mountain lands (from the mid 60s to the current tenure review and government purchases of high country Crown pastoral leasehold lands), sustainable lake management (Lakes Manapouri, Monowai and Te Anau), conservation organisations (Forest & Bird Protection Society: notably the SWNZ World Heritage Area successful campaign), national park ecological surveys and long-term monitoring (notably Mt Aspiring National Park, Secretary Island in Fiordland National Park and the Waitutu Marine Terraces now in Fiordland N.P.). Several appointed roles (Fiordland Lake Guardians, Conservation Board, National Parks & Reserves Authority, Conservation Authority, Land Settlement Board, most recently Fiordland Marine Guardians), and a position as Deputy Director of the Temperate Grasslands Conservation Initiative of the IUCN, have allowed me to indulge quite widely, as I will briefly discuss.

2011 Charles Fleming Lecture Tour

Professor Alan Mark presented the 2011 Charles Fleming Lecture in Otago (3 March), Nelson (8 March), Hamilton (9 March), Hawke’s Bay (7 April), Manawatu (17 May), Auckland (18 May), Wellington (25 May), Rotorua (26 May), and Canterbury (2 June).

The Wellington lecture is available online at our Viewing Room