BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN WA

richardmclellan

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BIODIVERSITY

CONSERVATION IN WA:

A REGIONAL NRM PERSPECTIVE

This paper describes opportunities to improve the adoption of

innovative and adaptive Natural Resource Management (NRM)

practices in Western Australia which will conserve biodiversity

and enhance the value and resilience of ecosystems, habitats and

landscapes in a changing climate and economic environment.

Biodiversity values

Western Australia is recognised internationally as having a highly significant and unique

mix of endemic plant and animal species and habitats. Southwest Australia, extending from

Shark Bay in the north to Israelite Bay in the south, is recognised as a global biodiversityhotspot,

one of just 35 in the world. The ‘hotspot’ is home to plants and animals found

nowhere else on earth and under intense threat!

Native vegetation provides important ecological functions such as maintaining

hydrological cycles and nutrient cycling. It provides shelter and habitat for animals, and

acts as a seed bank. Additionally, vegetation provides broader social benefits including

cleaner air, more resilience to heat, and more attractive properties and recreational areas

in urban areas, while also benefiting both biodiversity and sustainable agriculture in

rural landscapes.

Many fauna species play an important role in maintaining ecosystems’ health. Both

vertebrates and invertebrates maintain soil condition and nutrient cycling through

their digging, nest building, foraging, and seed dispersal. Research has shown

that burrowing animals like woylies and quenda help soil conditioning

through aeration, nutrient distribution and soil moisture penetration.

Fungi also provide key ecological processes through their

mycorrhizal associations which make soil nutrients accessible

to plants.

The state’s biodiversity values underpin our agriculture, forestry

and tourism sectors and support significant recreation, social,

cultural and economic values.

a

p

PO Box 650 Fremantle WA 6959

e

08 9219 5005 info@nrmwa.org.au

www.nrmwa.org.au


Natural landscapes and ecosystems support our health and wellbeing. These

values are provided free of charge and maintaining the condition of those

natural assets is a key factor in sustaining and enabling growth for the longer

term. This requires robust collaborative management in order to design and

implement effective and adaptive programs to address key threats.

Multi-stakeholder engagement – by WA’s seven regional NRM organisations,

all levels of government and their agencies, research institutions, the

private sector, and the community – is critical to the success of biodiversity

conservation in WA, especially given that much of the state’s natural assets are

located on privately-owned or managed land.

Threats

The ability of ecosystems in Western Australia to continue to support

biodiversity, and all the benefits we derive from it, are currently threatened by:

Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.

Invasive species (pests and diseases) which modify

habitats,compete with and predate on native species.

Unsustainable use of natural resources.

Changing fire regimes which influence the continuing

evolution of the landscape.

Changes to the aquatic environment caused by human

activities.

Changing climatic conditions (the increasing frequency

of extreme events magnifies existing threats, and may

alter the distribution and abundance of both native and

introduced species).


Regional NRM Organisations

The seven regional NRM organisations in Western Australia collaborate under

the collective banner NRM WA – all working with local communities to protect

natural assets and values and manage threats.

The work of these community-based, non-profit organisations is enabled by

federal, state and local government funding, as well as private investment

by landholders, community groups, businesses, research institutions and

universities, and industry.

The regional NRM infrastructure allows investors to capitalise on the

existing capacity, knowledge and community relationships of regional NRM

organisations, underpinned by the strength and value of regional or state scale

program delivery.

With sound and established governance and a commitment to cross-regional

cooperation, Regional NRM organisations are uniquely placed to facilitate

partnerships for biodiversity conservation at a scale that creates lasting

outcomes.


Regional NRM – Conserving

Biodiversity

Regional NRM programs align with the national

priorities for action to help stop the decline in

Australia’s biodiversity, as described in Australia’s

Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030.

There are a number of opportunities to improve

natural resource management in Western Australia,

building on the work regional NRM organisations

undertake with local communities, private entities,

local governments, government agencies, industry

and researchers.

Engage landholders (and landcare and

farmer groups) to conserve biodiversity

on private land through sustainable

agriculture management, managing

pests and diseases and importantly

recognising good stewardship through

programs such as Land for Wildlife.

• Develop practical solutions to protect

biodiversity assets, and manage threatening

processes that can be successfully undertaken

within a largely production-based landscape.

• Investigate, promote and enhance the

productive benefits of biodiversity on farms and

assist landholders to better manage pressures.

• Acknowledge private land biodiversity

conservation champions and share their stories.


Engage community members and

local ‘friends of’ and landcare

groups, and maintain capacity of

regional communities to play their

part in biodiversity conservation

– including through managing

pests and threats, monitoring and

reporting.

• Increase community awareness and

knowledge of threatening processes and

opportunities for successful management.

• Identify opportunities and mechanisms

for governments and industry to

contribute to community Landcare.

• Share and celebrate community success.

• Nurture future leaders.

Engage with Aboriginal people who

are looking after their country (or

seeking to) and preserving cultural

values associated with biodiversity.

• Increase opportunities for Aboriginal

people to look after their country.

• Incorporate traditional ecological

knowledge and intergenerational cultural

knowledge transfer.

• Increase participation and capacity of

Aboriginal people in conservation and

NRM.

• Incorporate traditional fire management

practices when managing for

biodiversity.

Raise awareness of the particular

and shared values and benefits

associated with biodiversity.

• Foster appreciation of biodiversity and

promote informed access of the natural

environment.

• Regional-scale ecological linkages and

refugia are identified, mapped and

recognised by major stakeholders,

including government, industry, and

community.


Guide investment in

biodiversity conservation

through landscape-scale

collaborative mapping,

management planning, and

strategic project delivery

across the whole of Western

Australia.

• Strengthen alliances with

industry, government agencies,

local governments, universities,

and community groups.

• Map biodiversity assets, values,

and threats.

• Access, aggregate, and interpret

existing data held by NRM and

community groups, government,

local government, research

organisations, and industry.

• Access experts, latest

technologies and systems.

• Use models of threatening

processes and values to

prioritise action and guide

investment.

• Look for opportunities for

synergy and avoid perverse

outcomes with land use planning

and development legislation and

policy.

Contribute to coordination

and management of postborder

biosecurity – with a

particular emphasis on pests

and diseases that threaten

biodiversity values.

• Reduce the impact on

biodiversity of invasive weeds

and feral pests.

• Map and report on status of

threats.

• Encourage vigilance in

community and landholder

surveillance for pests and

diseases.

Attract investment and

continue to innovate in

programs, techniques, and

management across Western

Australia.

• Seek funding from outside

the usual government and

philanthropic circles to augment

conservation efforts.

• Continue to explore efficiency

and effectiveness of programs

and use this knowledge to

improve.

• Seek innovation and

improvement in governance,

funding, communication,

delivery, and reporting.

Monitor, evaluate, review

and improve management in

an ongoing way, identifying

new learning about how to

conserve biodiversity more

effectively and optimise the

outcomes achieved.

• Build a stronger body of

knowledge and improve our

understanding of the natural and

NRM values and assets, and the

effectiveness of management.

• Seek to increasingly

integrate considerations into

conservation projects such as

fire management, recreational

usage, and feral animal and

weed control.

• Share knowledge and learnings

widely.

• Never stop learning.


a

p

PO Box 650 Fremantle WA 6959

e

08 9219 5005 info@nrmwa.org.au

www.nrmwa.org.au

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