- What is NaturePrint?
- How is NaturePrint put together?
- Why use NaturePrint?
- Who can use NaturePrint?
- How has NaturePrint been used so far?
- How can I contribute?
- What's next for NaturePrint?
What is NaturePrint?
NaturePrint is a mechanism being developed by DEPI to integrate and analyse our best statewide information (available through DEPI databases) about biodiversity values, threatening processes and ecosystem function at the landscape scale. It will provide a consistent basis to help us better understand the synergies and trade-offs involved in policy options and operational decisions.
NaturePrint provides simple-to-use outputs for
- biodiversity decision-making including strategic planning (Regional Growth Plans and Regional Catchment Strategies)
- targeting our efforts (Victorian Investment Framework, Communities for Nature and the Victorian Weeds and Pests program).
- regulatory frameworks (public land management).
NaturePrint is not a decision-making process; rather it is aiming to integrate a range of complex information to more easily and consistently inform such decisions and provide this in a 'fit for purpose' and 'easy access' form. Ultimately, decisions impacting on biodiversity outcomes will also be influenced by a mix of other factors such as feasibility, cost, resources, community attitudes, emerging environmental markets, government policy tools (e.g. regulation, price-based incentives, education and information) and other drivers such as landholder values, world markets and commodity prices, and land value.
Users will be progressively able to access spatial biodiversity information on strategic biodiversity conservation needs through overview maps and will be able to interrogate and contribute to underlying information.
For more information on NaturePrint please download the Introduction to NaturePrint facts sheet
How is NaturePrint put together?
- Mathematical models of species distributions and habitats
- The condition of these habitats
- Pathways for connectivity across landscapes
- Connectivity potential and recoverability
- Threats to species persistence
For more information on how NaturePrint was put together please download the NaturePrint technical facts sheet
Why use NaturePrint?
Everyday, somewhere in Victoria, people in the fields of biodiversity and natural resource management are called upon to use their understanding of the natural world to make decisions and provide advice about biodiversity values and the potential impacts on these arising from development or changed management. Planning decisions and on-ground activities are targeted to achieve desirable and cost-effective biodiversity outcomes. In almost all cases, these decisions occur in the absence of perfect biodiversity information, with increasing uncertainty due to climate change and within the constraints imposed by limited resources and often tight time lines.
Specific examples include:
- Targets, goals and objectives to provide direction for strategic high-level planning directions.
- Decisions regarding the selection of best-value for money outcomes from multiple investment options or processes.
- Where to protect habitat in planning overlays and special protection zones.
- How to distribute our effort in enforcement and compliance.
- Inputting biodiversity information in statutory planning, fire operations plans and district action plans.
- Areas of research that are essential for decision-making including where new survey effort is of most benefit.
Given the complexity of the natural and socio-economic environments, there is a need to develop integrated information which enables us to consider multiple biodiversity needs simultaneously. NaturePrint will provide the basis to help us better understand the 'trade-offs' involved in biodiversity decision-making and where to direct scarce resources.
Who can use NaturePrint?
Biodiversity and natural resource management staff, who give advice on biodiversity values, can progressively access information on strategic biodiversity conservation and contribute to information that feeds into NaturePrint.
How has NaturePrint been used so far?
NaturePrint is being used to inform the Regional Catchment Strategy process.
For further information download the NaturePrint Regional Catchment Strategies guidelines.
Targetting survey work
The species distribution models, one of the NaturePrint products, describe where the habitat of a species is likely to be present and can be used to guide new survey effort to locate new populations.
The Hooded Scaly-foot is a large legless lizard found across Australia. In Victoria in 2003 it was only known to occur in a very restricted distribution near Terrick Terrick National Park.
The first generation species distribution model used the limited number of species records (yellow stars) to produce a model of places where it is more likely you would find habitat that is suitable for the Hooded Scaly-foot. Shown as red on the map below.
Survey work was then conducted in areas identified as highly likely to have suitable habitat. New populations were found near Mildura. We reanalysed the model with the new population data which helped to improve the predicted species distribution and to develop a tighter 2nd generation species distribution model.
Fit for purpose analysis
After the 2009 bushfires we needed to quickly and efficiently bait foxes. We used the information from NaturePrint to advise the land managers about the priority locations to bait. We took spatial distribution information about 126 mammals, birds, frogs and reptile species that foxes are likely to eat and combined it with fire severity mapping. This told us where animal populations were likely to have survived the fires and where good habitat was likely to regenerate as the bush grew back, and we concentrated our baiting effort in these areas. Feedback from rangers and field staff told us that they valued the advice because it helped them to prioritise when they could see endless need, it allowed them to have a view on priorities outside the areas they knew well, and they followed and agreed with the simple logic without needing to understand the complex data and analysis.
NaturePrint and the Victorian Investment Framework (VIF)
In 2011-12 the combinations map from NaturePrint v1.0 was used as part of the VIF Biodiversity Program priorities.
In 2012-13 NaturePrint: Strategic Natural Values integrated map was used as part of the VIF Biodiversity Program priorities.
How can I contribute?
NaturePrint is in the early stage of development. This means that it is a great time to contribute your ideas via Nature.Print@depi.vic.gov.au and we ask for your patience during its development.
Everyone can contribute species records to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas. The species distribution models are based on these atlas records so this information is vital. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on submitting species records.
What's next for NaturePrint?
Next for NaturePrint is the transition to business process: how do we lock the practical benefits of the project into the business processes of public land managers, investors, Catchment Management Authorities and community-based natural resource management.
This will involve:
- Establishment of tools/systems to provide access to the products
- Further refinement of the NaturePrint maps