The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) has developed biodiversity information products that are used to measure biodiversity values at a site and across Victoria’s landscape.
Biodiversity information products can be used to understanding the biodiversity value of native vegetation when:
- undertaking strategic planning for biodiversity protection and management
- identifying areas to invest in for biodiversity outcomes
- deciding where to focus efforts to avoid and minimise impacts from the removal of native vegetation
- assessing impacts when native vegetation is proposed to be removed in accordance with the Guidelines for removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation (the Guidelines)
- determining the improvements to biodiversity delivered by native vegetation offsets
The following document describes DEECA's systems, tools and maps, and how they are used when applying the Guidelines.
The native vegetation removal regulations use a range of maps. To access these maps for use with Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) software can be requested by sending an email to email@example.com
NatureKIt is a tool to display and produce maps of Victoria's biodiversity. It includes the maps that are used in the native vegetation removal regulations.
Habitat importance maps used in the native vegetation removal regulations are developed for species on the threatened species advisory list
The habitat importance map spreadsheet contains a list of the species for which habitat importance maps have been developed.
EnSym NVR tool uses information contained in GIS shapefiles to determine offset requirements for proposals to remove native vegetation, and the offset available at offsets sites. The tool can also identify areas that could meet offset requirements by generating a map showing locations where a specific set of species can be found, and can be used to calculate potential habitat units of gain available at proposed offset sites.
The EnSym NVR tool can be used by consultants and proponents when planning developments. It generates reports that can be used to test different scenarios or proposals. A final Native vegetation removal report or Native Vegetation offset report must be obtained from DEECA for inclusion in any formal application to remove native vegetation or to establish an offset site. Contact DEECA for more information about this tool.
Once proposals are finalised the GIS shapefile with site assessed condition scores must be submitted to DEECA at EnSymNVRtool.firstname.lastname@example.org for processing. The EnSym NVR tool can only process a GIS shapefile that complies with data standards described in the EnSym native vegetation regulation tool spatial data standards.
Standards for Bioregion and EVC descriptor BioEVC and bioregional conservation status can be met using BIOEVCCODE and BCS1 in the EVC benchmark data spreadsheet.
Applications to remove native vegetation in the Detailed Assessment Pathway require a site assessment. A site assessment, in accordance with the Guidelines, includes:
- A habitat hectare assessment of any patches of native vegetation, including the condition, extent (in hectares), EVC and bioregional conservation status
- The location, number, circumference (in centimetres measured at 1.3 metres above ground level) and species of large trees within patches
- The location, number, circumference (in centimetres measured at 1.3 metres above ground level) and species of scattered trees, and whether each tree is small or large
A site assessment report must be current and can address large trees as detailed in the Assessor’s handbook.
A site assessment must be completed by an accredited native vegetation assessor. Accredited native vegetation assessors are listed on DEECA's Vegetation Quality Assessment - List of accredited native vegetation assessors. The following is the list of assessors who are currently accredited. Assessors who do not wish to have their names published on this list need to email email@example.com to have their name removed.
The Vegetation Quality Assessment (VQA) otherwise known as the habitat hectare assessment method is the standard approach of assessing vegetation quality in Victoria. Consistency in the application of the method by assessors is essential to support the delivery of Victoria's native vegetation removal regulations.
Accredited native vegetation assessors are listed on DEECA's Vegetation Quality Assessment - List of accredited native vegetation assessors and have current accreditation (less than two years old at the time the site assessment is completed).
The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) delivers the VQA competency check accreditation for native vegetation assessors. Participants complete both a theory and field-based assessment to demonstrate their ability to conduct a habitat hectare assessment to the DEECA standard.
The VQA competency check is aimed at experienced assessors. It is not suitable for inexperienced assessors. Participants who attend a VQA competency check will have detailed knowledge and experience in conducting habitat hectare assessments.
Successful participants will be registered on DEECA's VQA- List of accredited native vegetation assessors. Competency is valid for 2 years from the date of the field assessment.
How to register for your next VQA Competency Check
The following in-person sessions are available for initial certification or recertification (pending sufficient enrolments in each session) held in Warrandyte and run for the full day:
- September 22, 2023
- November 16, 2023
Additional sessions will be organised as needed.
Note: it may be possible to bring an in-person session to your regional area if numbers permit. Get your group of 10 organised in your nominated regional area and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
To enrol in a VQA competency check session, please email email@example.com and provide your full name, email address and phone number so we can get you booked in.
Cancellations within 5 working days of a scheduled VQA competency check will incur a cancellation fee of $100 (excl. GST). Exceptions may apply subject to approval from DEECA.
The Native vegetation: sustaining a living landscape. Vegetation Quality Assessment Manual – Guidelines for applying the habitat hectares scoring method, Version 1.3 describes the application of the habitat hectare method (version 1.3) for assessing native vegetation condition.
The manual provides a step-by-step approach to conducting assessments in the field and useful tips for ensuring consistency of application. The method involves the assessment of a number of site-based habitat and landscape components against a predetermined Ecological Vegetation Class (EVC) benchmark.
The habitat hectare method described is based on the approach described by Parkes et al. (2003).
Version 1.3 described in the manual is the DEECA approved method for assessing native vegetation for regulatory and investment purposes.
Assessors should use these assessment sheets to complete and document their VQA assessments.
Page last updated: 14/02/24