The Actions for Biodiversity Conservation (ABC) is an internet-based information system that is used by DELWP to store information about the management of threatened species and communities across Victoria. It was first implemented in 2004 and currently contains information on approximately 400 species and communities at more than 3000 locations across Victoria.
What is ABC used for?
There are three main uses of ABC.
Firstly, it is used to describe where important populations of threatened species or occurrences of threatened communities occur.
These locations are given a relative priority (high, medium or low) on the basis of their relative contribution to the long term conservation prospects for the item in question. Information is also stored about the threats that affect the population or occurrence, including the likelihood and impact of the threat.
Management actions are then assigned to the location in order to mitigate the most important threats. The management actions are given a relative priority (high, medium or low) based on the extent to which they will reduce the overall level of threat.
Each year, the actions are marked as complete, partially complete, not done or not needed. The actions proposed for the coming year are also reviewed annually.
The second main use of ABC is the generation of draft Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statements . Information already contained within the ABC system is compiled into a document that can be used for stakeholder consultation. This ensures that the ABC and the Action Statement are as closely aligned as possible.
The third main use of ABC is the generation of Bayesian Belief Network models for selected populations and occurrences. These models describe the relationships between management actions, threats and key population and habitat variables that reflect the status of the population or occurrence.
The models can be used to indicate the status of the population or occurrence, as well as helpto assess the relative cost-benefit of various management options. The models also help to focus our research and monitoring efforts by revealing the most important and/or poorly understood factors influencing the status of the population or occurrence.
These can then be targeted by well-designed research or monitoring, resulting in better evidence-based decisions about managing the location. The information derived from the models as to the status of the population or occurrence can also be aggregated across species groups or geographic regions to provide a strategic overview, such as for State of the Environment reporting.
Who uses ABC?
Most users of ABC are staff members of DELWP, Parks Victoria, Catchment Management Authorities or Local Councils.
There are two key roles in ABC: Item Monitor and Location Monitor. The Item Monitor is responsible for identifying key locations for populations of a particular threatened species or occurrences of a particular threatened communities and assigning a relative priority to each. The Item Monitor is generally a person with a high level of technical expertise in the species or community in question.
The Location Monitor is responsible for assessing the threats that affect a population or occurrence at a particular location and planning management actions. They tend to have practical land management expertise and are responsible for liaising with the landholder or land manager on whose land the location occurs. In many case they will work for the land manager. Item and Location Monitors would typically each contribute to the development of the Bayesian Belief Network models.
How can I get access to ABC?
You must be registered to use ABC. Anyone however, with a genuine reason to view or extract information on threatened species management can get access. This might include community-based conservation groups, researchers, environmental consultants or agency staff. Expressions of interest in being registered to use ABC can be lodged by contacting the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
What information can I get from it?
ABC produces a range of standard reports, including summaries of proposed management actions for a particular species or community, or for an area such as a CMA catchment, a park or reserve or a local government area. It produces similar reports of the results of actions proposed for previous years. It also produces reports about threats and the status of threatened species and communities.
ABC also holds descriptive information on the various threatened species and communities, including description, distribution, habitat and life history and ecology. It also performs a digital library function, where important documents such as research reports can be uploaded and thereby made available to all users.
What are the benefits of the ABC?
The benefits of ABC include:
- Providing a way for land and water managers to access information on the threatened species and communities requiring management action in a particular area
- Assisting investors and land and water managers to make decisions about which actions to undertake
- Providing easily accessible information on the management history of important locations for threatened species and communities and a means of sharing documents
- Providing a means to understand and report on the status of threatened species and communities
- Helping to guide research and monitoring activities to provide maximum benefit for the future management of threatened species and communities.