Implementing State of the Environment Indicators for Knowledge and Condition of Heritage Places and Objects

Australia State of the Environment Technical Paper Series (Natural and Cultural Heritage), Series 2
M Pearson, Artlab Australia, D Marshall, W Nicholls and S Sullivan
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001
ISBN 0 642 54872 2

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Introduction

This paper records the results of a project to gather data for eight environmental indicators related to heritage places and objects. Information about the environmental indicators was collected to assist with the preparation of the 2001 national State of the Environment Report.

The eight indicators are as follows:

  • Indicator H.1: The number of heritage places assessed (by sampling) as being in (i) good, (ii) average and (iii) poor condition;
  • Indicator G.3: Number of places destroyed or whose values have been severely diminished;
  • Indicator G.4: Number of places reserved for conservation purposes where heritage values have been seriously impaired by visitor use;
  • Indicator N.1: Proportion of natural heritage places with a condition statement, proportion with a recent condition statement, and age distribution of condition statements;
  • Indicator O.1: Number of objects/collections adequately catalogued;
  • Indicator O.2: The proportion of collections surveyed for preservation treatment by a trained curator/conservator;
  • Indicator O.3: The proportion of collections requiring preservation subsequently treated; and
  • Indicator O.4: The proportion of collections stored in appropriate environmental conditions.

The indicators derive from Pearson et al. (1998).

The project brief required the following tasks for each of the indicators:

  • in consultation with the Department, refine the recommended indicators to maximise their value for state of the environment reporting purposes;
  • assess the existing state of knowledge;
  • document relevant data sources;
  • assemble relevant data;
  • assess the quality of available data;
  • present data in an agreed format;
  • assess and evaluate any real or apparent trends in the data; and
  • provide an interpretative analysis of the trends, and comment on their environmental significance, including implications.

Where possible, the brief also required that historical as well as current data should be presented to form a time series, and that the geographical coverage should be the whole of Australia.

The brief required the following products:

  • refined indicators for state of the environment reporting purposes and reasons for their selection;
  • a review of existing information;
  • tables and maps as described under 'outputs' in Attachment 1 [of the brief] or as otherwise agreed as a result of refining the indicators;
  • all algorithms and other procedures used to process any data received from custodians and present it in the required format;
  • all raw or processed data collected in the course of the consultancy;
  • all documentation relating to data sources; and
  • a report that details trends in the data; discussing whether these trends are real or apparent; noting any limitations in the data; providing an interpretative analysis of the trends; and discussing the environmental significance of identified trends and their possible future implications.

Citation

For bibliographic purposes, this document may be cited as:

Michael Pearson M., Artlab Australia, Marshall D., Nicholls W. and Sullivan S. 2001, Implementing State of the Environment Indicators for Knowledge and Condition of Heritage Places and Objects, Australia State of the Environment Second Technical Paper Series (Natural and Cultural Heritage), Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra. http://www.ea.gov.au/soe/techpapers/index.html