The Australian Government has an ongoing programme of internal and external consultation for the Conservation Management Zones project.
Consultation to date
Throughout the project development, internal and external consultations were undertaken to ascertain the acceptability of the approach and identify any concerns.
Natural Resource Management regions
Natural Resource Management (NRM) regional staff were consulted and provided feedback during the development of the project. There was support for an Australian Government broad-scale conservation planning framework. NRM staff were pleased that the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA) has been retained as the foundation for the Conservation Management Zones.
NRM staff commented that the Conservation Management Zones may help to:
- provide greater clarity and certainty in terms of the design and delivery of regional NRM projects to meet Australian Government priorities;
- support NRM regions to be more strategic, consistent and effective in their engagement and communication with stakeholders;
- support better linkages between national NRM priorities and NRM regional plans; and
- drive improved NRM project to programme level monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
NRM regions have indicated they would like to maintain involvement. Ongoing stakeholder engagement with each of the 56 NRM regions is planned over the coming year.
Members of the scientific community were consulted throughout the development of the Conservation Management Zones and indicated support for the approach. No concern was raised about the methodology used to define the zones.
Subject matter experts commented that the project provides an opportunity and framework within which to collate and communicate expert environmental knowledge which may, in turn, support more strategic allocation of NRM investment. They also commented that an enduring framework for NRM knowledge will help to overcome corporate knowledge loss due to staff turnover & resourcing variability and could help address problems of a lack of common understanding and language.
Key stakeholder considerations
To date, stakeholders have expressed a desire that the Department should endeavour to:
- communicate how fine-scale views of the landscape correspond or fit within the Conservation Management Zone framework;
- place confidence ratings around profile vegetation management recommendations; and
- find a mechanism to ensure that management recommendations in profiles can reflect management innovation.
To address the above, the Frequently Asked Questions provides further background on the use of the Conservation Management Zones. In addition, the Department is engaged in a process to improve and develop management recommendations, as outlined below.
Management recommendations for different vegetation communities are provided at end of each the Conservation Management Zone profile. However, the Department recognises that this information is limited and that there are many significant knowledge gaps.
To this end, the Department has funded CSIRO to undertake a systematic review of management effectiveness literature in order to support development of a Knowledge Bank of Management Effectiveness (Knowledge Bank). The Knowledge Bank is intended to harness new and established knowledge about natural resource management and its effectiveness in achieving particular environmental outcomes.
The Knowledge Bank will identify:
- empirical and anecdotal knowledge, as well as knowledge gaps about management effectiveness
- recommendations regarding the appropriateness or limitations to extrapolating management recommendations to like environmental assets or threats within the Conservation Management Zone framework
- confidence ratings for different management types relative to specific environmental values or threats
- recommendations for strategic monitoring to increase confidence levels around anecdotal knowledge and reduce knowledge gaps.
Contributions and participation from the community to the Knowledge Bank and its development are welcomed. Notice of any engagement and calls for contributions will be made on the Department’s website.
In future, it is anticipated that the Department will regularly review feedback on management recommendations and will aim to incorporate this feedback into Conservation Management Zone profiles in consultation with the scientific community.
How to provide feedback
The Department will actively engage community in discussions about the use of the Conservation Management Zones and seek feedback and advice about potential uses in relation to specific NRM programmes on a case by case basis.
The Department is aiming to continuously build the knowledge-base made available through the Conservation Management Zone framework and recognises that local knowledge will be essential to building this resource.
General feedback is welcome through the channels identified below and the Department will endeavour to respond within three months of receiving general feedback including, where appropriate, through meetings or teleconferencing with respondents.
Feedback is welcomed through any of the following channels:
- via email firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- by telephone on 1800 803 772 (General enquiries).