Biodiversity in Regional Planning
Fencing incentive scheme
It is important to develop a culture that values biodiversity, while recognizing regional differences in terms of ecological, cultural and economic factors.
Organisations need to clearly define their outcomes and priorities, and relevant roles and responsibilities for action.
The concept of biodiversity needs to be well understood at the regional level — what it is, what can be done to protect or recover values, and what benefits can be expected from investment in management. This enables sound decisions on priorities for investment and management.
There is a need to clarify the benefits derived from biodiversity conservation, and to develop the market base for those benefits.
National biodiversity values and threatening processes are identified under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, as matters of national environmental significance.
Regions need to plan to achieve landscape-scale outcomes for biodiversity conservation.
Effective cooperation and communication is required between a range of agencies and other bodies, supported by coordinated mapping and information at appropriate scales and, appropriate networks, and sound decision-making tools.
Effective regional planning requires both science-based biodiversity information and local knowledge and expertise. Information needs to be in a form appropriate for landscape-scale planning and management.
National State of the Environment (SoE) Reports provide information about environmental and heritage conditions, trends and pressures in Australia. Information on biodiversity and its conservation can be found under the Biodiversity Theme of the 2001 SoE Report. Preparations for the 2006 SoE report are underway.
Another useful and accessible information source is the Australian Natural Resources Atlas. It includes a number of resource assessments undertaken by the National Land and Water Resources Audit. Useful information can be found in a number of their reports and assessments, including the following:
A list of Botanical Databases can be found in the report Plants, People and Planning: Integrating National Botanical Information and Regional Vegetation Planning and Management (July 2003).
Regional NRM organisations are required to set biodiversity targets and incorporate them in their regional plans. Regions will differ in their capacity to set, implement, and measure performance against the targets. Regions can build capacity by providing resources, information, facilitation, technical support, skills and training. Support required will vary over time, and based on the situation of the group (from self-motivated and self-directing groups, to those that are disinterested or antagonistic towards conservation values).
A mix of motivational, financial and regulatory mechanisms is best. Strong leadership is a key factor in ensuring mechanisms are developed and adopted effectively.
There are a number of factors that drive effective incorporation of biodiversity conservation in regional planning. The key drivers of effective biodiversity planning and action are: