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B Sparrow Keynote at 19th Biennial Rangelands conference, Port Augusta, 25-28th September 2017

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  1. 1. TERN is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. Monitoring in the Australian Rangelands Where we have come from and where we should be headed. Presentation by Associate Professor Ben Sparrow
  2. 2. Why Monitor? So that we can manage land well Different land uses have different management aims. Most of those aims have similar information needs
  3. 3. So how do we manage well? We make good decisions based on good information. https://www.i-scoop.eu/big-data-action-value-context/dikw-model/
  4. 4. So what information do we need? Where is the resource? • How is it spatially arranged? How does that change through time? • Can’t manage something if you don’t know where it is!
  5. 5. What is the resource? • How much of it is there? • What is its composition? • How is it changing through time? • Measure it!
  6. 6. Photo by Bobby Tamayo Sandy inland mouse, Ps. hermannsburgensis, 12 g 1990 2000 2007 Dry Photo by Bobby Tamayo Sandy inland mouse, Ps. hermannsburgensis, 12 g Threats and Drivers… What process is involved? What is causing the change in the resource? Slide courtesy of Prof Glenda Wardle - USYD
  7. 7. Getting that Information is a challenge
  8. 8. TERN is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. • Two types of monitoring program • Pastoral land monitoring • Biodiversity/ ecological monitoring • + Other more localised monitoring • For a specified purpose • … or just informal
  9. 9. Currently have disparate systems • Pastoral monitoring is a state based responsibility and hence state based programs • State based biodiversity inventory programs • Many local or regional monitoring programs • Different scales for different types of monitoring
  10. 10. Problems • Unable to easily and routinely report at the national scale, or compare regional monitoring with that conducted in another jurisdiction • Some duplication of effort between pastoral monitoring programs and biodiversity monitoring/ inventory programs • All under resourced
  11. 11. So how do we fix these problems? Before we can determine how to fix the problem we first need to determine what we really want / need. To do that we need to understand a little about the types of monitoring that can be conducted and their purpose.
  12. 12. After Eyre et. al. 2011 Population Ecology Community Ecology Biogeography/ Landscape Ecology
  13. 13. Monitoring There is ongoing tension between different types of monitoring regarding their relative merits. Often a monitoring program is judged on what would define a successful monitoring program for a different type of monitoring. Each type of monitoring needs to be judged against its aims and objectives.
  14. 14. Generalisations to follow!!!
  15. 15. Targeted Monitoring • Few species and interactions between them • Great at answering the question that they were designed to answer, but unlikely to be suitable to other questions. • Aim to measure and quantify drivers (processes) • Narrower stakeholder base (specific to question) • Detect and quantify change that we know about and are expecting • Method specific to project/ Question • Good at quantifying impacts of drivers • Question Driven (Popper’s Scientific method.) • Monitor short and long term
  16. 16. Surveillance Monitoring • Looks at entire communities • Useful for many purposes • Drivers unknown (May provide some insight, but that is not the focus of design) • Broad stakeholder base • Detect and quantify change that we don’t know about and weren’t anticipating • Some hope of method standardisation – If method broad in scope • More likely to be able to adapt to emerging issues • Has focus areas for data collection that inform many questions • Aims to detect and quantify environmental change across large geographical areas. • Less likely for the same sites to be regularly revisited – Longer re- visit time. (Duration of many years)
  17. 17. Landscape Monitoring • Commonly whole landscape analysis • Lower information content • Versatile and reusable • Drivers unknown- Aims to detect change • Broad stakeholder base • Has a higher temporal ability than other monitoring methods BUT • Fundamentally a correlation between reflectance / texture etc and your environmental variable of interest • Necessary to build up this correlation from field data and widely validate. • Provides a useful, robust way to generalise outcomes for the whole landscape. Courtesy TERN Auscover
  18. 18. Which is better? They all have their Place! All are needed to provide a holistic solution to monitoring. The most important parts are actually the arrows!
  19. 19. Where is the resource? • How is it spatially arranged? How does that change through time? • Can’t manage something if you don’t know where it is! Landscape Monitoring
  20. 20. • What is the resource? • How much of it is there? • What is its composition? • How is it changing through time? Surveillance Monitoring
  21. 21. Photo by Bobby Tamayo Sandy inland mouse, Ps. hermannsburgensis, 12 g 1990 2000 2007 Dry Photo by Bobby Tamayo Sandy inland mouse, Ps. hermannsburgensis, 12 g Processes? Slide courtesy of Prof Glenda Wardle - USYD Targeted Monitoring
  22. 22. So what could our future look like? (Unlikely to get a massive increase in funding)
  23. 23. Which of the following Photos are from a Pastoral Land Assessment program and which are from a biodiversity monitoring program??
  24. 24. Need to work together Are efficiencies gained by combining government based pastoral land monitoring and biodiversity monitoring? Pastoral monitoring and Biodiversity monitoring are not entirely incompatible! – Both sample Cover, Species, Presence of Ferals etc. Similar information needs
  25. 25. Need to conduct monitoring at all scales
  26. 26. Build on what already exists • ACRIS • TERN • State programs
  27. 27. Socialise/collaborate but consensus
  28. 28. Radiographer Surgeon Registrar GP Theatre Nurse Anestesiologist Nurse Administrator Radiologist Multi- disciplinary….. Because no-one has all of the answers!!
  29. 29. Objective data collection • Avoid subjectivity • Measure where possible • Don’t use classes in the field – they can be added later • Maximises re-use
  30. 30. • Standardise data collection where possible
  31. 31. Automate data collection Reduces Time (Field and Office) Rapid data publication Reduces Errors
  32. 32. Embrace new technologies
  33. 33. Open Data • Collect once use many • Maximise public benefit from publicly funded programs.
  34. 34. Published Friday 12th May 2017. Get everything else right and impact will take care of itself.
  35. 35. Better Future
  36. 36. More info Thank You Ben Sparrow E. Ben.sparrow@Adelaide.edu.au p. 08 8313 1201 W. www.tern.org.au W. www.ausplots.org.au W. www.aekos.org.au

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