How we can improve our planning and monitoring practices?

Panel Discussion Summary


Discussion Facilitators: John Loschiavo and Rob Scott

Stuart Cowell (Conservation Management)

Doug Evans (Nillumbik Landcare Network}

Kate Fitzherbert (Bush Heritage)

Chris Jones (Arthur Rylah Institute)

Graeme Lorimer (Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association)

Emma Mann (Banyule City Council)

Phil Pegler (Parks Victoria)

Lincoln Kern (Practical Ecology)

People said that Forum was a great place for connecting with others in the industry, and gave lots of useful feedback.

It was suggested that we use a Facebook group to keep in touch with everyone. However, we’ll also need to consider those who are not on Facebook.

Next event

The majority of people agreed that the next event should focus on creating standardised methods for monitoring common Biodiversity Management works. For the typical works that are undertaken (e.g. weed control, revegetation and planned burns), can we come up with a list of standardised monitoring methods to use for different projects and programs?

We could even make a flow chart to help Biodiversity Managers choose the appropriate monitoring methods, given the work they are doing.

Victorian Biodiversity Managers’ Network

There were several questions about the purpose of the Network, and what it will initially focus on achieving. The first step is to create a committee for the Network. The committee will the address the questions raised during the panel discussion.

These include:

  • Should the Network be national?
  • How can the Network effectively link practitioners and academics?
  • Should there be formal accreditation for Biodiversity Managers?
  • How can the Network work with existing organisations to utilise their strengths, and not duplicate efforts?
  • How can the Network help formulate and gain industry acceptance on standards for Biodiversity Management?
  • Can the Network have an online noticeboard with professional development and training opportunities?

Once the Network committee is formed,  we will create a steering group to develop standardised methods. These methods will be released and explained at the next Forum, and will include a field component where we go through the different methods.

Suggestions for other events:

  • A tour of sites that are managed using the Open Standards
  • Field trips to different sites with success stories, as well as where projects have not worked
  • A conference that brings grassland experts together to share advances in native grassland management
  • A forum on using the SERA Standards
  • A workshop on the Open Standards for a group of councils

Implementing the Open Standards

The Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation are a useful tool for adaptive management. Stuart Cowell explained that organisations and community groups can learn how the Open Standards work in a day. But it takes about 3 days to learn how to adapt and use the Open Standards for your own conservation projects and/or programs.

Some people suggested that there is a need for a simplified ‘crash course’  in the Open Standards for community groups. This course could help community groups define values and visions for their projects.