Biodiversity survey: Optimising knowledge capture
A foundational element
Biodiversity survey is a foundational element across our research programs to enable predicting and managing impacts, protecting and planning for conservation and for determining and managing appropriate offsets. Improving the knowledge of biodiversity composition, patterns and trends will also inform cumulative impact assessment. This builds on our ongoing work in biodiversity data and information management focused on the digital capture, use and sharing of data.
Optimising knowledge capture in biodiversity assessments
One of the key themes in our Research Priorities Plan is the application of technologies to promote faster and more cost effective biodiversity assessments. A main driver relates to the lack of adequate biodiversity data across large areas of the State to inform land management decisions, and the high cost of traditional approaches to biodiversity survey.
There are a number of biodiversity surveys completed for Western Australia at local, regional and bio-regional scales. Each year numerous biological studies are conducted either at a species level or broader community level, by government agencies both State and Commonwealth, academic institutions, natural resource management groups, non-government organisations, indigenous organisations (such as ranger programs), community groups and individuals in what is now broadly referred to as citizen science and consulting ecologists, environmental practitioners and spatial scientists. The majority of surveys in Western Australia, both in terms of coverage and quantity, are conducted by environmental consultants engaged by resource companies and other development proponents for environmental assessment and planning purposes.
A Biodiversity Survey Working Group, chaired by Dr Stephen van Leeuwen, comprising representatives from State Government, industry and non-government organisations, has guided consultation with end users, researchers, regulators and policy makers to help identify existing biological surveys available in digital format and determine potential future biological survey targets. The issues raised by end users will inform WABSI’s strategy.