Dr Aila Keto, Australia

03 July 2012 | News story

Australian born Aila Keto is the founder and President of the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society (ARCS), an NGO Member of IUCN. She has made a sustained and major contribution to conservation science, policy and practical programmes over several decades, and is widely acknowledged for her leadership, influence, knowledge and experience.

Thanks to her work and commitment, more than 15,000 km² of Queensland's rainforest is today protected. A further 15,000 km2 of other forests have been scheduled. Three areas have been successfully nominated for World Heritage status: Wet Tropics, Fraser Island and the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.

She successfully negotiated the historic agreement signed by the Queensland Timber Board, the Queensland Government, and three major conservation groups to ensure the conservation of the native forests of Queensland. This agreement represents a national precedent for this type of conservation activity.
She has undertaken a significant amount of field work over the past 20 years, not just in rainforest but also other forest areas such as brigalow and dry eucalypts. Through the work of the ARCS, there has been a significant expansion of knowledge of the distribution of flora in Queensland.

At the national level she has contributed to the development of biodiversity policy through the National Biodiversity Strategy and programmes, and forest policy more broadly. Dr Keto has made significant contributions to programmes that acquire and restore privately owned forest areas of special conservation value, including ARCS’ current Springbrook Rescue Restoration Project associated with the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.