Profiling Australia’s vegetation – its uses and values
Decision makers involved in natural resource management and planning increasingly require integrated up-to-date and reliable information on the type, extent, distribution, uses and management of vegetation across the whole landscape. While information may be available on these parameters it is usually not integrated in a nationally consistent framework to inform planning at a regional level. Vegetation information is required for developing policy, planning resource development and for monitoring the outcomes of management actions for sustainable production and biodiversity conservation.
Vegetation profiles were developed for 56 natural resource management regions by combining two complementary national frameworks that describe Australia's vegetation and how it is used at the regional level. These frameworks include the Australian Collaborative Land Use and Management classification describes and maps land uses, and the Integrated Vegetation Dataset provides information on all vegetation types; native and non-native. The two datasets were developed through partnerships of key agencies responsible for vegetation and land use research, management and/or information management. Both datasets represent independent views of vegetation across the whole landscape. Additional social and economic information on major regional centres, population statistics and the revenues associated with the value of production from the vegetation provides a snapshot of the vegetation its uses and values. Three regional profiles are presented including relative areas of vegetation types and how they are used and the revenues associated with these land uses.
Applications of the vegetation information are discussed including opportunities for assessing gaps in the regional system of public protected areas, comparing the relative revenues derived from industry sectors and informing public policy trade-offs regarding the economic benefits of sustainable management of native vegetation. Additional work is needed to fill data gaps and develop systems for reporting trends in the use and value of vegetation at a regional level.