I recently attended a Forum on Planning and Monitoring for Biodiversity Management held by the Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association’s Victorian Biodiversity Managers’ Network, in conjunction with Rob Scott from Naturelinks, hosted at The Arthur Rylah Institute.
The Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association (IFFA) is a volunteer based organization created in 1986 whose aim is “to promote the appreciation, study, conservation and management of indigenous flora and fauna through research and discussion, networking and advocacy, and information exchange”. Check out their website here: http://www.iffa.org.au
The Victorian Biodiversity Managers’ Network is in creation! IFFA recognised the need for a network to promote biodiversity management and to bring together people who manage land for biodiversity in Victoria to facilitate knowledge exchange.
IFFA recently hosted a workshop with a people from a wide range of organisations to brainstorm the scope of a biodiversity managers’ network. From this workshop it was decided the scope and direction of the Victorian Biodiversity Managers’ Network would be to:
- developing best-practice industry standards and industry promotion
- information and knowledge sharing using a website and workshops
- building capacity of biodiversity managers through short courses and industry accreditation
The Forum on Planning and Monitoring for Biodiversity Management was held as one of the first official events of the Victorian Biodiversity Managers’ Network. One of the benefits of this event and of the Network, was that it brought together many people from different organisations; local councils, consultants, non-government and government organisations, landcare groups and friends networks.
The focus of the day was Planning and Monitoring and this was focused around an introduction to the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation – a systematic method for managing conservation projects: http://cmp-openstandards.org/
Dr Kate Fitzherbert from Bush Heritage spoke first and discussed their use of the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation and outlined how this logical and transparent process helps to understand projects in their environmental, political and social context and helps to figure out which are the right factors to monitor.
Doug Evans from Nillumbik Landcare Network spoke about their use of the open standards to outline the collective environmental assets of the Landcare network and figure out cost effective and practical methods to manage them.
Phil Pegler from Parks Victoria spoke about the conservation action planning and the continual evolution of approaches to respond to issues of community and stakeholder engagement, organisation culture, defining goals and measuring success and prioritizing resources.
Emma Mann and Scott Nutt from Banyule City Council presentation showed us their use of GIS technology for data collection, which provides a faster, more precise and easier to access method for collecting and storing environmental data.
Dr Chris Jones from The Arthur Rylah Institute spoke about monitoring methods for environmental management and gave us an overview of commonly used methods to address different monitoring challenges. He outlined some important questions when thinking about monitoring such as why are you monitoring? What are you trying to monitor? How will you use this data?
Lincoln Kern from Practical Ecology discussed and provided some examples of planning and monitoring in the commercial ecological management market, and also introduced the National Standards for the practice of ecological restoration in Australia http://www.seraustralasia.com/pages/standards.html developed by the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia http://www.seraustralasia.com.
The second part of the Forum was a workshop where Stuart Cowell from Conservation Management took us through a case study using some of the tools and processes of the Open Standards. We learnt about ‘results chains’ and their use in testing possible strategies, identifying conservation actions and prioritising monitoring for conservation management projects.
The final part of the day was a panel discussion about improving planning and monitoring practices in Victoria and an exploration of how The Biodiversity Managers’ Network can support this.
It was a great day and an exciting start to a new network of passionate people who want to manage Victoria’s vegetation using best practices. The Bushland Managers’ Network will soon have a website; and The Wild Melbourne crew http://wildmelbourne.org were at the forum recording all the talks, so these will become available shortly. In the meantime if you would like anymore information about The Biodiversity Managers’ Network email: firstname.lastname@example.org