A small group of early-adopter Bushland Managers across Victoria gathered in early May to exchange ideas about how software was changing the way they managed the spaces in their care.
The minutes from the forum can be downloaded here.
In this article we feature 5 evolving approaches.
Tony Faithful presented some ground-breaking practices around Works Reporting in Merri Creek. Armed with Windows tablets toughened for use in the field, the MCMC are able to use Billquick and Works software to project and team manage. These applications, along with the Intramaps Roam software, integrated geographic data and enable the bushland managers to monitor herbicide use and track species occurrences.
Though there are teething problems with unreliable data connections in the less accessible sections of the park and poor documentation for the software, the on-site team is collaborating closely with the technology team to improve the application functionality, especially with regards to offline data collection and subsequent uploading.
At the forum, the bushland management team from the City of Yarra showcased their Reserve Management app that was deployed across 2 bioregions.
Using the software over a 2 year period (2014-2016), a Biodiversity Health Survey was completed to establish a baseline of data including the marking of 80 ecological vegetation classes, 280 transect audits, anabat recording and wildlife camera trapping.
Impressively, the bushland managers were able to accurately geomark more than 275 species of indigenous plants (including 7 threatened species) and 534 fauna (including 5 nationally threatened species).
Having to manage over 250 reserves, 60 friends groups and all the related contracts and documents, each with their respective time frames and dependencies, would all be a nightmare if not for the Bushland Manager application.
A stand-out feature of this powerful software is its work history layering on maps. This has given stakeholders the power to easily track the progress of plans (eg. a weeding action plan) across 5 years.
These bushland managers are also working closely with the developers to broaden the scope of the app and include other works and contracts such as fire management and feral animals.
Phil Peglar from Parks Vic featured their new web-based application that records environmental management activity across the state.
Beyond the benefits of bushland management itself, the application is also used to generate annual end-of-year business reports and supplied to DELWP and the CMAs.
Peter Brenton presented a truly amazing, powerful aggregation and access facility. The Atlas of Living Australia is enabling researchers to access and explore ‘crowd-sourced’ data through filters, visualisation tools and analytics.
Because of wide collaborative networks, the ALA is starting to be able to produce scientifically robust and reproducible Species Distribution Models to inform policy and for transparent decision making across and between governments.
Thanks to this extensive collaborative effort, the team from ALA are able to advance the discourse of data related issues – quality, metadata vs data, and credibility, among others.
With every bushland manager that took to the stage to present, there was a growing and palpable sense of gratitude that such a forum existed.
By exchanging learning via platforms like this, bushland regenerators will be able more effectively meet the increasingly urgent environmental needs of our time.