A recovery team is a collaboration of partners brought together by common objectives to develop and/or coordinate the implementation of a conservation plan or program for a threatened species or ecological community, or for multiple species or ecological communities.
Australia is renowned for our abundance of unique plants and animals, with many of these species being found nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, many of our species are in danger of extinction due to a range of ongoing threats. Stopping the decline of, and supporting the recovery of these species and ecological communities is a difficult task, usually involving many individuals, organisations and agencies.
It is only through a collaborative approach between government agencies, non-government organisations, scientists, industry, First Nations peoples and the broader community that the necessary management actions are likely to be effectively implemented to better protect and recover these species or communities. Recovery teams are one way to achieve collaboration and coordination in threatened species/ecological community management.
One of the key targets (Target 18) of the Threatened Species Action Plan is to improve recovery planning and support of recovery teams. This target includes the development of:
- best practice guidelines for recovery team governance,
- a method to allow recovery teams to report annually on progress, and
- a database of all recovery teams.
Best practice guidelines for recovery team governance
The Recovery team governance - Best practice guidelines provide an overarching framework for establishing and operating effective recovery teams and sets out a series of ‘best practice’ principles to guide and support recovery teams in establishing best practice governance arrangements. These guidelines are intended to complement other existing species conservation planning and governance systems and where beneficial and appropriate, can be applied more broadly.
National register of recovery teams
Under the Recovery team governance - Best practice guidelines, it is proposed that a national recovery team that is: developing or overseeing the implementation of an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) conservation plan; operating consistently with the Best Practice Guidelines; and agreeing to report annually, can submit their terms of reference to the Department to be nationally registered.
Becoming a nationally registered recovery team provides national recognition for that recovery team's work. It provides a higher level of confidence that a recovery team has been established guided by best practice methods and will provide a strong platform for the ongoing collaborative effort needed to support the recovery of threatened species and ecological communities.
Monitoring and reporting
A national reporting framework has been established for recovery teams to report on progress in achieving the objectives of a recovery program. Monitoring and reporting are an important part of any recovery effort and enables adaptive management. Recovery teams have an important role in communicating effectiveness of recovery programs. Reporting helps to validate the efforts of contributors such as recovery teams. Recovery team reporting will report not only on implementation action, but also on how the species/ecological community is responding. Reporting will progressively build a national snapshot of how threatened species and ecological communities are faring and will inform other national and international reporting requirements.
A national network to enhance recovery efforts
During the development of the best practice guidelines for recovery team governance, stakeholders identified the need for a network to connect recovery planning practitioners from across Australia. A network could link and coordinate recovery planning activities, and allow recovery teams to share experiences, collaborate and thus become more efficient and effective.
Consultation on the development of this network will be undertaken in the near future.