A protocol for the assessment of conservation values and delineation of conservation management zones

  • Kelly Menadue

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU

    Abstract

    The combined effects of habitat loss, fragmentation and ecosystem disruption have ensured that the Earth is currently experiencing biodiversity extinction incomparable in human history. The "Top End" of the Northern Territory presents a unique opportunity to make a substantial contribution to biodiversity conservation, as a result of little wholesale ecosystem disruption. In particular, Bradshaw Field Training Area which is located in the ecologically rich zone in the Victoria Bonaparte bioregion of the "Top End" presents a unique opportunity.. The property is approximately 9, 1 00km2 and is earmarked for an expansion of its defence training activities. As a result of this conjunction of ecological value and expanding land use there is a requirement to formally assess ecological resources and conservation values to aid in the property's environmental management. An initial step in developing a comprehensive management plan is classification of the property according to its current conservation value. A GIS based "top down, landscape scale, multi species" approach was employed to delineate areas of high conservation value on the property. This involved assessment of the entire property against a diverse range of criteria: - vegetation community sensitivity, conservation significance and rarity, statutory requirements, land condition assessment, basic landscape ecology metrics and site specific conservation values. The results indicated that approximately 30 percent of the property is of high conservation value whilst only 1 percent of the property was identified as containing no elements of conservation significance. This study did not take into account potential future land use, cultural values or attempt to identify degraded areas in need of rehabilitation. Instead, it simply delineates the property in terms of ecological values according to the aforementioned user defined criteria, via application of a scientific, transparent
    and transportable methodology.
    Date of AwardNov 2004
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJeremy Scott Freeman (Supervisor) & Sean Bellairs (Supervisor)

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