A BUSHLAND manager is someone who manages land for biodiversity.
This work predominantly involves removal and/or reduction of threats to biodiversity (pest plant and animals, inappropriate disturbance regimes) and enhancement of biodiversity values (planting, direct seeding, habitat enrichment).
As a profession, bushland managers work on land which is usually reserved for biodiversity. They work both in the public and private sector on both private and public land. The type of work they do is driven by their funding arrangements, level of expertise, types of bushland they work in, and the management priorities of their bushland.
Most bushland managers are working towards the same goal: to reduce threats to biodiversity and enhance biodiversity. Until now, there has not been an organisation for bushland managers to share information and knowledge in Victoria.
The Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association recognised the need for a bushland management network and would like create a network which aims to promote the profession and facilitate knowledge and information sharing.
Recently IFFA hosted a workshop with people from a wide range of organisations to brainstorm the scope and direction of a potential network. From the workshop, three main areas of focus were suggested.
1 Developing industry standards and industry promotion
While bushland managers know that certain management techniques are better than others, there is a great need for guidance about which ones to use in particular situations and what specifications and standards should be attached to each.
Industry standards are required to:
- Ensure best practice for the management of bushland, and to ensure the best value for money and the best outcomes for biodiversity, given the limited funds for bushland works
- From the development of standards for the industry, monitoring and evaluation protocols could be developed. Monitoring is a great tool for managers to see how their reserves are changing with management interventions. It also can be used to report outcomes to funding agencies.
The bushland network could also promote the industry as a profession. This could lead to greater recognition as a profession, and potentially even to further funding for bushland works.
2 Information and knowledge sharing using a website and field trials/workshops
There is currently no centralised platform for bushland managers to share information regarding bushland management issues. A website could be used to share information.
This would include photos, videos, case studies, reports and an online forum where bushland managers can share information and discuss issues. In addition to the website, the network could run workshops on specific topics and put the outcomes of the workshop on the website.
The network could also facilitate and coordinate field trials of different management techniques and report the findings on the website.
3 Building capacity of bushland managers through short courses and industry accreditation
While there are several tertiary courses relating to bushland management, there is a need for further professional development opportunities. The network could either provide or facilitate short courses and other training for bushland managers. Depending on the demand for ongoing professional development, these short courses could be combined to form an industry accreditation.
The bushland network will be run by a committee, comprising professionals within the bushland management industry. The main activities of the committee would include:
- Develop and implement industry standards;
- Facilitate field trials, workshops and online information
- Facilitate and run training courses relevant to bushland management.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Please complete our 10 minute survey by 14 November 2016 to tell us what you want from a bushland management network https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T8H3KJT