Native Biodiversity Resource Kit - Environmental Management in Agriculture
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The 'Best Agricultural Practice for Native Biodiversity in Grazing Industries' pilot project investigated methodologies that Victorian graziers could use to assist with biodiversity management. A supporting Native Biodiversity Resource Kit has been developed to assist farmers to work towards improved conservation of native biodiversity.
The project has been supported by the Naturally Victorian and Our Rural Landscape initiatives of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).
Who are we?This project is administered by the Biodiversity Conservation Strategies Section (Biodiversity and Natural Resources Division) of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).
What did the pilot project achieve?The pilot study for this project was completed in February 2003.
Background information to inform decision-making and farm management has been collated for a number of case study properties throughout Victoria. The pilot study worked with twenty farms including dairy, meat and wool and mixed farm enterprises at Hamilton in south west Victoria, at Ellinbank and other sites in Gippsland and at Rutherglen and other sites in northern Victoria. The ethos behind the case study methodology is explained in a report documenting the approach: Incorporating Biodiversity into Environmental Management Systems for Victorian Agriculture - A discussion paper on developing a methodology for linking performance standards and management systems.
The pilot project:
The pilot study assessed the case study farms using a Environmental Management System (EMS) property management tool, which was coupled with minimum performance standards derived from the Catchment Management Authority (CMA) regional native vegetation plans and Victoria's Native Vegetation Management - a framework for action. Whilst an EMS addresses a range of 'environmental issues' including water quality, pollution, waste management and soils, the focus of this pilot project was on management issues that addresses native biodiversity conservation.
The pilot project captured the best of what is currently available to integrate native biodiversity within agricultural systems and established tools to identify the native biodiversity standards that land managers can use to monitor sustainable agricultural practices.
What do we mean by native biodiversity?When we discuss native biodiversity we mean the plants, animals and ecosystems that are native to Victoria. This includes their genetic make-up (at the cellular level), the individual species and the ecosystems (relationships with each other and the environment) in which they occur. For additional information on native biodiversity in property management planning see the Living Systems Resource Kit.
Environmental Management In Agriculture: Native Biodiversity Resource Kit
This Resource Kit will be useful to Victorian producers who are wanting to improve their environmental sustainability, who are interested in native biodiversity management or who are wanting to approach the management of their farm biodiversity assets in a systematic way.
This Resource Kit explains the practical steps a farmer may undertake to include native biodiversity as part of on-farm environmental management. It contains all the necessary instructions, advice and support materials to help train farmers in understanding most of the native biodiversity resources on their property and incorporating these elements within their management program.
Many people were involved in the production of this Resource Kit. Particular thanks are due to Jane McQueenie (Project Officer: Best Agricultural Practice for Native Biodiversity in Agriculture ) for her involvement in the initial conceptual framework for this Resource Kit and on-ground project delivery with the twenty case-study farmers. Her work was assisted by a Reference Group of representatives from the Victorian Farmers Federation, Landcare, World Wide Fund for Nature, Sustainable Grazing Systems, Australian Conservation Foundation, and the Victorian Departments of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).
Major features of this publication include:
- a flow-chart for dealing with native biodiversity (Introduction Text)
- how the Resource Kit relates to ISO 14001 EMS (Introduction Text)
- a self-assessment questionnaire for native biodiversity (Work Sheet 1)
- instructions on how farmers can classify native vegetation into EVC groups and determine generalised conservation status (Work Sheet 3)
- a vegetation self- assessment form (based on a range of generalised benchmarks) designed for farmers to assess the quality of any native habitat on their property (Work Sheet 4)
- how to determine management targets based on Net Gain goal and the management actions linked to the vegetation self-assessment form (Work Sheet 6)
- an introduction to the types of actions (based on ten key components) that a farmer may implement to improve the extent or quality of native vegetation on their property (Work Sheet 7)
- twenty Fact Sheets that summarise key information and signpost other resources.
Andrew Straker, Policy Analyst,
Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI)
402-406 Mair Street, Ballarat, 3350
Phone (03) 5336 6716
01. Land managers questionnaire
02. Site record sheet
03. Determining Ecological Vegetation Class Groups and generalised conservation status
04. Assessing habitat quality using the ‘Land managers self-assessment method’
05. Determining generalised conservation significance
Download combined Work Sheets:
EVC Group Score Sheets (including benchmarks for individual EVC Groups)
01. Box Ironbark FORESTS or WOODLANDS
02. Coastal SHRUBS, GRASSLANDS or WOODLANDS
03. Dry FORESTS
06. Heathy WOODLANDS
07. Herb-rich WOODLANDS
08. Lower Slopes or Hills WOODLANDS
09. Lowland FORESTS
11. Montane SHRUBLANDS, GRASSLANDS or WOODLANDS
12. Plains grassy FORESTS or WOODLANDS
15. Riparian FORESTS or WOODLANDS
14. Riparian Scrubs or Swampy SCRUBS or WOODLANDS
16. Riverine Grassy FORESTS and WOODLANDS
17. Rocky Outcrop or Escarpment SCRUBS
18. Salt tolerant or Succulent SHRUBLANDS
19. Subalpine SHRUBLANDS, GRASSLANDS or WOODLANDS
20. Wet or Damp FORESTS
Download a single PDF of ALL EVC Group Score Sheets 01-21
01. Frequently asked questions
02. Summary of native biodiversity benefits
03. Definitions: biodiversity and agriculture related
04. Victoria's native biodiversity management resources
05. Key references and websites
06. Victoria's Legislation and Policies
07. Statewide environmental contacts
08. Gippsland environmental contacts
09. North East environmental contacts
10. North West environmental contacts
11. Port Phillip environmental contacts
12. South West environmental contacts
13. Emergency incidents
Native Biodiversity Assessment
14. Defining conservation status of species and ecosystems
15. Professional contract brief - initial survey of native vegetation
16. Professional contract brief - full survey of native biodiversity
17. Professional report on native biodiversity - template
Native Biodiversity Targets
Native Biodiversity Actions
Download combined Fact Sheets:
Links to other related sites
- Biodiversity and Environmental Management Systems for Victorian Agriculture
- The Role of EMS in the Emerging Land Stewardship Concept
- Victoria’s Biodiversity Strategy
- Living Systems - Including Biodiversity in Property Management Planning
- Victoria’s Native Vegetation Management – a framework for action
- Vegetation Quality Assessment Manual
- Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVC) Benchmarks by Bioregion
- Biodiversity Interactive Map
Other related DEPI sites:
Other related DPI sites:
- Environmental Management Systems in Victorian Agriculture
- Victorian Resources Online - Biodiversity
Other Related Sites:
RIRDC - Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation - Environment Management Systems for Australian agriculture
The development of Environment Management Systems for Australian agriculture is an important contributor to sustainability and to future trading and marketing processes. RIR&DC, along with other corporations, underpins the development of internationally acceptable accreditation systems for sustainable agricultural production, environment management and new agri-industry systems.
DAFF - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry - Environment Management Systems
There is great potential for collaboration between government, industry and the community on production certification - integrating management and action. Adoption of EMS may assist Australian producers to maintain market access or gain new markets where consumers demand sustainably produced products. Growers who adopt production certification may not necessarily attract premiums - long term market access is the issue.
New South Wales Agriculture - New South Wales Agriculture NSW Agriculture is a State Government Department for agricultural research, advisory services, education and regulation and providing practical farm production solutions for profitable agriculture and for a better environment. See session 7 – EMS and Improving Environmental Outcomes for Agriculture.
Further information:Anderson, S., Lowe, K., Preece, K. and Crouch, A., (2001). Incorporating Biodiversity into Environmental Management Systems for Victorian Agriculture—A discussion paper on developing a methodology for linking performance standards and management systems. Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).
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