What is NaturePrint?
NaturePrint is a suite of decision-support tools designed to help us make choices about what actions to take, and in which places, to protect Victoria’s environment.
These tools provide a view across multiple threats and species, and enable consideration of different future scenarios. NaturePrint provides the community, government, agencies and other users with commonly-shared, readily available guidance. The tools are evidence-based, the inputs are transparent and there is the ability to include new ideas and data as required.
The tools support choices such as where to protect habitat or what are the most beneficial actions for threatened species.
Victoria has a diverse and unique range of plants, animals and ecosystems that we value and need to protect for future generations. Determining what is needed to protect biodiversity is complex, with large amounts of information and multiple needs to consider simultaneously.
Given the size of the management challenge and the game-changing influence of climate change, we need a revolution in our thinking about how to best conserve nature and give plants and animals the best opportunity to adapt.
How can I use NaturePrint's tools?
Victorians in the fields of biodiversity and natural resource management are called upon every day to make decisions, and provide advice about biodiversity values and the potential impacts on these arising from development, changed management or climate change. They use their understanding of the natural world to make these decisions, often without perfect information, and must grapple with multiple, complex biodiversity needs and socio-economic settings.
By compiling an enormous range of data on Victoria’s plants and animals, and conducting complex mathematical analyses, the NaturePrint suite of tools can help to support the conservation decision-making processes across Victoria and plan for the future. This assistance also includes guiding investment in actions to strengthen biodiversity, and assisting in the application of statutory responsibilities and regulatory controls. NaturePrint’s tools can also help improve value for money when conserving biodiversity, which is vital in a resource-limited environment.
Which actions are the most important for conservation in my park, council, farm region or state?
Strategic Management Prospects maps and data show where species improve the most when threats are controlled and thus which actions are most important. Such information could become the basis of management plans.
Where would we concentrate our efforts to control a threat for the greatest benefit to biodiversity? And which species would benefit the most?
The threat extent and intensity maps show the locations of threats. The benefit maps illustrate where we get the greatest benefit from controlling threats. Graphs show the magnitude of benefit each species gets when a threat is controlled. This information can help design weeds, pests or other threat control programs.
How do we prioritise actions to help a species?
The benefit maps and graphs show the benefit to the species from controlling threats. This information can be used to plan the recovery of species, to prepare a bid in a grant process and demonstrate value for money to an investor.
Which actions at which locations give us the best return on investment?
We can use Strategic Management Prospects to equitably compare investment options. This data can help us make better decisions for conserving biodiversity.
Which species do we need to look after in our region?
Strategic Biodiversity Values illustrates the proportion of the species' total habitat for which we are responsible in our area. This information could be used in planning how our region makes its best contribution to biodiversity conservation.
Where should we put our major development projects to minimise impacts on biodiversity?
This Strategic Biodiversity Value map identifies where we could design development projects to have the least impact on biodiversity assets. It could be used early in major infrastructure and development planning process.
How can NaturePrint help you?
NaturePrint models the habitat distribution of thousands of threatened and non-threatened species of plants and animals. These Habitat Distribution Models (also known as Species Distribution Models) use species records from the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (VBA) to predict the habitat distribution for each species. Using these models we can calculate the proportion of a species’ distribution that occurs in your area and compare that with other areas.
For example, habitat for the Rosella Spider-orchid mostly occurs in only one area, making it a very important conservation priority for that area. In comparison, habitat for the Lace Monitor is relatively widespread, but mostly in Victoria’s east. The Habitat Distribution Models can be used to see which species we should be responsible for in our different areas and the relative contribution our area provides for those species.
Habitat distribution models are available for download at the Data Victoria website.
Sometimes we are interested in landscapes as well as individual species. Certain landscapes may be particularly important because they provide habitat for unique groups (assemblages) of species or species that are very geographically restricted. Some landscapes are considered ‘hotspots’ because many threatened species occur there. The Strategic Biodiversity Values map combines this landscape importance information with connectivity and fragmentation information to show the relative value of landscapes in Victoria.
The Strategic Biodiversity Values map is available for download at the Data Victoria website.
When planning conservation projects, we might need to understand where the most effective and cost-efficient places to implement actions are to achieve the greatest benefit for nature. This requires us to have a view of what threats to biodiversity are occurring and where, and the benefit of managing these threats in a particular place.
Strategic Management Prospects integrates and compares information on the expected benefits and indicative costs of conservation actions across species and locations. It allows us to compare management options, or the effectiveness of individual management actions in different places. It can support conservation decision-making across Victoria, including both investment in actions to strengthen biodiversity, and guidance in the application of statutory responsibilities and regulatory controls. Strategic Management Prospects is a key element in our modernised conservation planning and investment process. Information on threats, benefits and costs will be progressively made available during 2017.
Spatial priority map Best action map
Local and regional information on feasibility, capability and capacity, and costs is essential for project prioritisation and decision-making. For example, whether weeds will be managed by a contractor or treated by a local friends group will have a significant impact on the cost. Local groups can add their information to the values, vulnerability to threats, and benefits of management action information to determine the benefit-cost ratios of different projects, or the return on investment. This allows us to compare project options and share information with partners.
How can I contribute?
The NaturePrint team is committed to the continuous improvement of its tools.
The habitat distribution and importance models can be tested and improved with the collection of new field data. These models can also help identify areas of highest uncertainty and help target effort toward areas where the new information is of highest value.
Everyone can contribute to the improvement of these models by submitting species records to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas. The habitat distribution models are based on these atlas records so this information is vital.