Towards Adaptive Management of Native Vegetation in Regional Landscapes

  • David H Duncan
  • Brendan A Wintle
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


Landscape modellers are now capable of combining high resolution spatial data with process models to explore natural resource management scenarios at scales appropriate for decision making, but what of the process of decision making itself? In this chapter we review the applicability of the ‘adaptive management’ paradigm to natural resource management, using regional management of native vegetation by Catchment Management Authorities as an example. We find that progress has been made in the approach to defining management objectives and specifying assumptions behind vegetation change models; however, there remain significant challenges in instituting true management experiments and identifying performance indicators appropriate to support continuous learning. We argue that the ecological and institutional complexity of native vegetation management reinforces the importance of systematic decision protocols. Adaptive management is the most logical approach to decision making where there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of management options, and the opportunity exists to learn and update understanding. This iterative process offers continuous improvements to investment efficiency in native vegetation management.


Native Vegetation Natural Resource Management Adaptive Management Vegetation Condition Regional Landscape 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allan C, Curtis A (2005) Nipped in the bud: Why regional scale adaptive management is not blooming. Environmental Management 36:414–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. ANAO (2008) Regional delivery model for the Natural Heritage Trust and the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. ANAO Audit Report No. 21, 2007–08. Australian National Audit Office, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  3. Bormann BT, Cunningham PG, Gordon JC (1996) Best management practices, adaptive management, or both? In: Proceedings of the National Society of American Foresters Convention, 28 October–1 November 1995, Portland, Maine, p 6Google Scholar
  4. Brunt K, McLennan R (2006) Biodiversity monitoring action plan. Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, Shepparton, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  5. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (1998) Model selection and inference: A practical information- theoretic approach. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Commonwealth of Australia (1992) National forest policy statement. a new focus for Australia’s forests. Commonwealth of Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  7. Commonwealth of Australia (1996) National strategy for the conservation of Australia’s biodiversity. Commonwealth of Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  8. Commonwealth of Australia (1998) A framework of regional (sub-national) level criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management in Australia. Commonwealth of Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  9. DNRE (1997) Victoria’s Biodiversity: Directions in Management. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  10. DNRE (2002) Victoria’s native vegetation management: a framework for action. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  11. Dorrough J, Vesk PA, Moll J (2008) Incorporating ecological uncertainty and farm-scale economics when planning restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology 45:288–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DSE (2006) Native vegetation gain approach – technical basis for calculating gains through improved native vegetation management and revegetation. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  13. ESCAVI (2007) An interim approach to the native vegetation condition indicator. Executive Steering Committee for Australian Vegetation Information, Commonwealth of Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  14. GBCMA (2003) Goulburn Broken regional catchment strategy. Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, Benalla, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  15. Gerber LR, Beger M, McCarthy MA, Possingham HP (2005) A theory for optimal monitoring of marine reserves. Ecology Letters 8:829–837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Griffin NRM (1999) Native vegetation national overview. Report for Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council. Environment Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  17. Hauser CE, Pople AR, Possingham HP (2006) Should managed populations be monitored every year? Ecological Applications 16:807–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Haynes RW, Bormann BT, Lee DC, Martin JR (2006) Northwest Forest Plan – the first 10 years (1993–2003): synthesis of monitoring and research results. PNW-GTR-651, Forest Service, United States Department of AgricultureGoogle Scholar
  19. Holling CS (1978) Adaptive environmental assessment and management. John Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Johnson BL (1999) The role of adaptive management as an operational approach for resource management agencies. Conservation Ecology 3:Article 8Google Scholar
  21. Johnson FA, Moore CT, Kendall WT, Dubovsky JA, Caithamer DF, Kelley JR, Williams BK (1997) Uncertainty and the management of mallard harvests. Journal of Wildlife Management 61:202–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Keith D, Gorrod E (2006) The meanings of vegetation condition. Ecological Management and Restoration 7:7–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lake PS (2001) On the maturing of restoration: Linking ecological research and restoration. Ecological Management and Restoration 2:110–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lindenmayer DB, McCarthy MA (2006) Evaluation of PVA models of arboreal marsupials. Biodiversity and Conservation 15:4079–4096CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McCarthy MA, Possingham HP (2007) Active adaptive management for conservation. Conservation Biology 21:956–963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Meredith C (1997) Best practice in performance reporting in natural resource management. ANZECC Working Group on National Parks and Protected Area Management – Benchmarking and Best Practice Program. Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Port Melbourne, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  27. NCCMA (2003) North Central regional catchment strategy 2003–2007. North Central Catchment Management Authority, Huntly, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  28. NECMA (2003) North East Regional Catchment Strategy, North East Catchment Management Authority, Wodonga, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  29. NECMA (2006a) Annual report 2005/2006. North East Catchment Management Authority, Wodonga, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  30. NECMA (2006b) Catchment condition report 2005/2006. North East Catchment Management Authority, Wodonga, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  31. Newell G, White M, Griffioen P, Conroy M (2006) Vegetation condition mapping at a landscape-scale across Victoria. Ecological Management and Restoration 7:S65–S68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nichols JD, Williams BK (2006) Monitoring for conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 21:668–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. NRMMC (2002a) National framework for natural resource management standards and targets. Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, Commonwealth of Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  34. NRMMC (2002b) National natural resource management monitoring and evaluation framework. Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, Commonwealth of Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  35. Parkes D, Lyon P (2006) Towards a national approach to vegetation condition assessment that meets government investors’ needs: A policy perspective. Ecological Management and Restoration 7:S3–S5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Parkes D, Newell G, Cheal D (2003) Assessing the quality of native vegetation: The ‘habitat hectares’ approach. Ecological Management and Restoration, 4:S29–S38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Possingham HP (2001) The business of biodiversity: Applying decision theory principles to nature conservation. Australian Conservation Foundation, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  38. Robinson D, Mann S (1998) Effects of grazing, fencing and licensing on the natural values of Crown Land frontages in the Goulburn Broken catchment. Goulburn Valley Environment Group, Shepparton, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith FP (forthcoming) Who’s planting what, where and why – and who’s paying? An analysis of farmland revegetation in the central wheatbelt of Western Australia. Landscape and Urban PlanningGoogle Scholar
  40. Stankey GH, Bormann BT, Ryan C, Shindler B, Sturtevan V, Clark RN, Philpot C (2003) Adaptive management and the Northwest forest plan; rhetoric and reality. Journal of Forestry 101:40–46Google Scholar
  41. Stankey GH, Clark RN, Bormann BT (2005) Adaptive management of natural resources: theory, concepts, and management institutions. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  42. Tuchmann ET (1998) The Northwest forest plan: A Report to the President and Congress. DIANE Publishing, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  43. Underwood AJ (1994) On beyond BACI: sampling designs that might reliably detect environmental disturbances. Ecological Applications 4:3–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. USFWS (1999) Adaptive harvest management – 1999 duck-hunting season. US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of Interior, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  45. VCMC (2007) Catchment condition report 2007. Victorian Catchment Management Council, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  46. Victorian Government (1994) Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. No. 52, Parliament of VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  47. Walters C, Holling CS (1990) Large-scale management experiments and learning by doing. Ecology 71:2060–2068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. WCMA (2007) Annual report 2006–2007. Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, Horsham, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  49. Wintle BA, McCarthy MA, Volinsky CT, Kavanagh RP (2003) The use of Bayesian Model averaging to better represent the uncertainty in ecological models. Conservation Biology 17:1579–1590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Woodgate PW, Peel WD, Ritman KT, Coram JE, Brady A, Rule AJ, Banks JCG (1994) A study of the old growth forests of East Gippsland. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Melbourne, VictoriaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H Duncan
    • 1
  • Brendan A Wintle
    • 2
  1. 1.Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and EnvironmentHeidelbergAustralia
  2. 2.School of BotanyThe University of MelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations