Natural environment actions

The actions are designed to respond to the identified needs (above) and meet this Plan’s short-term objectives. They are complementary and together lay the foundation for how adaptation should be approached across the sector.

The lead responsibility to implement these actions sits primarily with DELWP.  In developing guidance and tools, DELWP will collaborate with Traditional Owners, other government agencies, non-government organisations and the community to ensure that they are effective and fit-for-purpose.

Improve our understanding of climate risks and vulnerabilities

Four actions will be undertaken to improve our understanding of climate change risks and vulnerabilities.

Climate vulnerability assessments related to natural environment assets will be updated with the latest climate model data (Action 1.1).
This will allow land managers and policy makers to better identify areas of the landscape that will be most impacted by climate change. Updated datasets are also a useful tool in communicating the impacts of climate change with stakeholders, including the community.

DELWP will identify areas where natural assets could migrate under climate change (Action 1.2). For instance, coastal vegetation is likely to migrate inland in response to rising sea levels and there is evidence that some bird species are migrating to higher altitudes.

DELWP will identify how a changing climate will impact on our fire regimes (Action 1.3).

Work will also be taken to identify key research gaps for which additional information would enhance climate-adaptated decision making (Action 1.4). This will help environmental managers to determine research priorities to pursue through research collaborations.

ObjectiveActionTiming
1. Improve our understanding of risks and vulnerabilities 1.1 Explore opportunities to update climate vulnerability assessments related to natural environment assets with latest climate model data June 2022 to June 2024
1.2 Identify areas where natural assets could migrate to under climate change June 2025 to June 2026
1.3 Incorporate future weather scenarios in bushfire and forest modelling and planning May 2022 to June 2024
1.4 Identify key research gaps and undertake value of information analysis to determine research priorities to pursue through research collaborations January 2023 to June 2026

Help to prioritise adaptation actions and focus efforts

Four actions will be implemented to help prioritise adaptation actions and focus efforts to improve their effectiveness.

A framework for monitoring and assessing emerging threats will be developed (Action 2.1). As the climate changes and the natural environment responds, it will be important to detect new threats as early as possible to provide the best chance of successfully intervening. The framework will outline what should be monitored, when and how.

A toolbox will be developed that describes what tools are suitable for managing uncertainty in the natural environment system and how they can be applied (Action 2.2).

A strategy will be developed to help determine areas that are likely to be impacted by climate change and to identify the actions that would be most effective at enhancing ecological resilience (Action 2.3).

A policy will be developed to help guide novel environmental management actions such as ecological engineering and genetic interventions (Action 2.4). The policy will define novel environmental management actions, describe where they should be applied and how risks should be managed.

ObjectiveActionTiming
2. Help to prioritise adaptation actions and focus efforts 2.1 Develop a framework for monitoring and assessing emerging threats June 2023 to October 2026
2.2 Build a toolbox for decision making under uncertainty June 2022 to June 2024
2.3 Develop a strategy to maximise ecosystem resilience July 2022 to August 2024
2.4 Prepare a policy for novel environmental management actions April 2024 to June 2025

Create a framework to support climate-adapted decision making

Three actions will be implemented to create a framework to support climate-adapted decision making.

Guidance will be prepared on applying adaptation pathways in the natural environment context (Action 3.1). This will build on work undertaken by the Southern Slopes Climate Change Adaptation Research Partnership between Victoria’s Catchment Management Authorities and universities. It will describe what the adaptation pathways approach is, when it is useful to be applied and how to do it. Cross-sector collaboration will be an essential part of developing the guidance.

The adaptation pathways guidance will be trialed (Action 3.2). The trial will be developed and undertaken in partnership with Traditional Owners and in close collaboration with affected stakeholders such as the local community, local Councils, Catchment Management Authorities, Landcare and other local environment groups and portfolio agencies.

A foundational guide to transformational adaptation will be developed (Action 3.3). The guide will describe the conditions under which transformational adaptation should be explored, identify the contexts in Victoria which meet these conditions and identify learnings from previous transformational change experiences.

ObjectiveActionTiming
3. Create a framework to support climate-adapted decision making 3.1 Develop guidance on applying adaptation pathways in the natural environment context June 2023 to October 2026
3.2 Trial the adaptation pathways guidance by applying it to specific locations highly vulnerable to climate change June 2022 to June 2024
3.3 Prepare a foundational guide to transformational adaptation in the natural environment July 2022 to August 2024

Support and enable practitioners to better approach decision making in the context of a changing climate and increased uncertainty

A set of eight actions will be implemented to support practitioners to better approach decision making in the context of a changing climate and increasing uncertainty.

The climate adaptation lens is an important tool to frame adaptation decision making. Actions will be taken to ensure the climate adaptation lens is:

  • integrated into decision support tools (Action 4.1)
  • considered in the development of the Whole of Sector Bushfire Strategy and the renewal of the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy (Action 4.2)
  • incorporated into current methodologies and projects where possible (Action 4.3)
  • integrated into bushfire preparedness, response and recovery (Action 4.4)
  • incorporated into behaviour change initiatives (Action 4.5)
  • promoted and further developed through pilot projects (action 4.6).

Opportunities will be identified to work across DELWP and with partner agencies to integrate adaptation consideration into existing Monitoring Evaluation Research and Improvement frameworks (MERI) (Action 4.7)  Adaptation depends on learning and responding effectively to lessons learned, as well as experience, changing circumstance and new knowledge. It will also be deliberately trialling new approaches and being prepared to fail. Enhancing learning in MERI will be a key focus of this action.

To facilitate learning more broadly, communities of practice will be supported and promoted.  These communities of practice will facilitate knowledge sharing and application of best-practice climate adaptation within the natural environment system (Action 4.8).

ObjectiveActionTiming
4. Support and enable practitioners to better approach decision making in the context of a changing climate and increased uncertainty 4.1 Integrate the climate adaptation lens into decision support tools June 2023 to December 2025
4.2 Consider the climate adaptation lens in developing the Whole of Sector Bushfire Strategy and in renewal of the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy January 2022 to August 2023
4.3 Review methodologies and projects to see how they're using the climate adaptation lens January 2022 to September 2024
4.4 Integrate the climate adaptation lens into bushfire preparedness, response and recovery January 2022 to October 2024
4.5 Explore opportunities to incorporate the climate adaptation lens into behavioural change initiatives and build community understanding of adaptation January 2022 to September 2025
4.6 Support and promote pilot projects applying the climate adaptation lens June 2022 to June 2026
4.7 Embed a learning approach into monitoring, evaluation and improvement frameworks August 2022 to Ongoing
4.8 Support and promote climate change adaptation communities of practice June 2022 to July 2023

Support Traditional Owner outcomes and objectives

Traditional Owners will be supported to explore climate impacts on their cultural values (Action 5.1). The type of support will depend on the needs identified by Traditional Owner groups. This could include providing access to data and information about climate projections or assisting with research into climate risks to specific cultural assets.

ObjectiveActionTiming
5. Support Traditional Owner outcomes and objectives 5.1 Provide opportunities for Traditional Owner self-determination Ongoing

Monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement

DELWP is committed to building a strong evidence-based and learning culture. This is critical to supporting adaptation, as well as strategic decision making, public sector accountability, efficient and effective management and continuous improvement.

A fit-for-purpose monitoring, evaluation and learning framework will be developed within year one to guide the implementation of this Plan. The framework will include an outcome logic model or theory of change, key evaluation questions, data collection methods (both quantitative and qualitative) and a strategy for improvement and learning.

Page last updated: 28/02/22