This guide has been produced in the spirit of information exchange. It’s about sharing experiences and knowledge of planning and managing native vegetation at property level, including what works, what doesn’t work and how each of us can work towards a more scientifically-informed and adaptive style of management. As natural resource managers working at property level, many of us are motivated to better manage native vegetation but have little spare time. We have to be careful how we allocate resources and can’t afford to reinvent the wheel. This book accelerates the flow of information across State and local boundaries and in doing so offers an invaluable tool to leading producers, their advisors and others who are taking a positive, proactive approach to managing native vegetation. It does this by suggesting resources that reflect the most up-to-date thinking, with findings that are transferable to other regions.
In recent years a growing body of native vegetation management information has emerged. We have moved from a small knowledge base to a more comprehensive understanding of the problems, knowledge gaps and actions needed to move forward. This evolution in part reflects the impacts of initiatives and funding programs like One Billion Trees, Bushcare, Landcare, the Natural Heritage Trust and National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. At a more fundamental level, the programs themselves reflect a growing awareness of the values of natural areas and a clearer understanding of the declining state of the environment and the roles that native vegetation plays.
Much of the research, development and management has occurred within a broader context, reflecting the overlap between native vegetation and other natural resource management (NRM) issues. At the same time, specialist native vegetation management knowledge, techniques and industry professionals have emerged. This evolving industry is helping to foster a greater appreciation of the biodiversity benefits and ecosystem services that native vegetation provides, both to property managers and the wider community. Similarly, there is growing recognition of how native vegetation contributes to triple bottom line objectives (environmental, economic and social outcomes).
The links and trade-offs between production and native vegetation management are being understood along with the contribution of property-level planning and actions to regional outcomes, the extent and condition of native vegetation, the pressures and threats it faces, our responses to different issues and people’s motivations. These recent advances span a myriad of localities, levels of government, research institutions and other industry and conservation groups, networks and individuals. Many advances have been made by multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaborations and have looked at native vegetation issues in relation to other NRM issues (e.g. salinity, water quality, soil conservation, wildlife conservation) and productive enterprises such as agriculture and forestry.
The wealth of information available encourages its application. It points out the gaps and where future investigation would yield significant benefits. Importantly, it also highlights the inter-dependencies between natural resource issues and regions in protecting and managing native vegetation, and the benefits of continuing collaboration and cooperative research and information sharing.