Advertisement

Characterising the Environmental Values of the National Defence Estate, with Emphasis on Native Vegetation

  • Richard Thackway
  • Frederick Ford
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Military Geosciences book series (AMG)

Abstract

The Australian Defence estate includes extensive training areas where the native vegetation is in good condition. This contrasts to many landscapes in eastern and southern Australia, which have been transformed for cropping and improved pasture, plantation forestry and urban development. We present a national characterisation of Australia’s Defence estate by intersecting the extents of Defence facilities with several national vegetation datasets that describe the type, extent and condition of native vegetation. Those results show that compared to neighbouring landscapes, Defence training areas are landscapes that have been, and are, generally minimally modified from a fully-natural reference state.

We discuss how the past management of Defence estates has generally maintained the extent and condition of native vegetation. The increasing conservation value of vegetation under Defence management suggests there is a requirement to strategically assess how and where the Defence-managed estate contributes to regional conservation goals. Any proposals for managing the Defence estate must continuously be balanced against the primary purpose of the land to support Defence capability.

Keywords

Defence estate Estate management Environmental values Ecological communities Defence training areas Native vegetation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the support given by Lucy Randall in providing access to the vegetation, land use and agro-climate datasets. Stuart Pearson commented on an earlier draft.

Disclaimer

The views expressed are the authors’ and not necessarily those of the Department of Defence. The Commonwealth of Australia will not be legally responsible in contract, tort or otherwise, for any statement made in this paper.

References

  1. ABARES. (2008). National Scale Vegetation Assets, States and Transitions (VAST Version 2) – 2008. Online at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications/display?url=http://143.188.17.20/anrdl/DAFFService/display.php?fid=pa_vast_g9abll0032008_11a.xml [Accessed 21 July 2017].
  2. ABARES. (2010). A method for deriving maps of landscape alteration levels from vegetation condition datasets 2010. Online at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications/display?url=http://143.188.17.20/anrdl/DAFFService/display.php?fid=pe_brs90000004186.xml [Accessed 21 July 2017].
  3. Bell, A. (1985). The conservation value of Defence training areas. Ecos 43 Autumn 17–23. Online at: http://www.ecosmagazine.com/?paper=EC43p17 [Accessed 21 July 2017].
  4. Bowett, J., Davidson, A., & Danvers, T. (2012). Shoalwater Bay training area: Capability, conservation and collaboration. In P. Figgis, J. Fitzsimons, & J. Irving (Eds.), Innovation for 21st century conservation (pp. 142–147). Sydney: Australian Committee for IUCN. Online at: http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/innovation_for_21st_century_conservation_low.pdf [Accessed 21 July 2017].Google Scholar
  5. Bureau of Meteorology. (2013). Guide to environmental accounting in Australia, Environmental Information Programme, Publication Series (Vol. 3, p. 122). Canberra: Bureau of Meteorology.Google Scholar
  6. COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water. (2012). Australia’s native vegetation framework. Canberra: Council of Australian Governments, Department of Sustainability, Water, Population and Communities.Google Scholar
  7. Department of Defence. (2009). Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030. Defence white paper 2009, Department of Defence, Canberra, Australia. p 122. Online at: http://www.defence.gov.au/whitepaper/2009/docs/defence_white_paper_2009.pdf [Accessed 21 July 2017].
  8. Department of Defence. (2016). Environment Strategy 2016. Department of Defence, Canberra, Australia. Online at: http://www.defence.gov.au/estatemanagement/governance/Policy/Environment/Policy/EnvironmentStrategy2016.PDF [Accessed 21 July 2017].
  9. Department of Environment and Energy. (2016a). Australia - Pre-1750 Major Vegetation Groups - NVIS Version 4.2 (Albers 100m analysis product). Department of Environment and Energy, Canberra, Australia. Online at: http://www.environment.gov.au/fed/catalog/search/resource/details.page?uuid=%7B3B0B4F84-AA9E-40FB-B5C1-0DB9019CB1A1%7D [Accessed 21 July 2017].
  10. Department of Environment and Energy. (2016b). Australia - Present Major Vegetation Groups - NVIS Version 4.2 (Albers 100m analysis product). Department of Environment and Energy, Canberra, Australia. Online at: http://www.environment.gov.au/fed/catalog/search/resource/details.page?uuid=%7BA7C505C1-E11A-4D1A-8F9D-06AFB5E004A1%7D [Accessed 21 July 2017].
  11. Fitzsimons, J., Pulsford, I., & Wescott, G. (2013). Linking Australia’s landscapes: An introduction. In J. Fitzsimons, I. Pulsford, & G. Wescott (Eds.), Linking Australia’s landscapes lessons and opportunities from large scale conservation networks. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Hobbs, R. J., & McIntyre, S. (2005). Categorizing Australian landscapes as an aid to assessing the generality of landscape management guidelines. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 14, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Keith, D., Lindenmayer, D., Lowe, A., et al. (2014). Heathlands. In D. Lindenmayer, E. Burns, N. Thurgate, & A. Lowe (Eds.), Biodiversity and environmental change. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. Lesslie, R., Thackway, R., & Smith, J. (2010). A national-level vegetation assets, states and transitions (VAST) dataset for Australia (version 2). Canberra: Bureau of Rural Sciences. Online at: http://data.daff.gov.au/data/warehouse/pe_brs90000004193/VASTv2Data_20100320_ap14.pdf [Accessed 21 July 2017].Google Scholar
  15. Margules, C. R., & Pressey, R. L. (2000). Systematic conservation planning. Nature, 405(6783), 243–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McGarigal, K., Cushman, S. A., Neel, M. C., & Ene, E. (2002). FRAGSTATS: Spatial pattern analysis program for categorical maps. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  17. McIntyre, S., & Hobbs, R. (1999). A framework for conceptualising human effects on landscapes and its relevance to management and research models. Conservation Biology, 13, 1282–1292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. MPIG (Montreal Process Implementation Group for Australia and the National Forest Inventory Steering Committee). (2013). State of the Forest Report. Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  19. Mutendeudzi, M., Stafford-Bell, R. (2011). Scientific information for making decisions about natural resource management – a report on the value, status and availability of key ABARES datasets. ABARES technical report 11.2, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  20. Mutendeudzi, M., & Thackway, R. (2010). A method for deriving maps of landscape alteration levels from vegetation condition state datasets. Canberra: Bureau of Rural Sciences. Online at: http://143.188.17.20/data/warehouse/pe_brs90000004186/lalMethTechRpt_20091208_r1_ap14.pdf [Accessed 21 July 2017].Google Scholar
  21. Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council. (2010). Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010–2030. Department of Sustainability, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  22. PGM Environment and Eco Logical Australia. (2014). Strategic Environmental Assessment of Defence Activities in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, 2014: Update Report. Prepared for the Department of Defence. pp 43. Online at: http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/248633/2014_Strategic-Environmental-Assessment_Defence.pdf [Accessed 21 July 2017].
  23. Sbrocchi, C., Davis, R., Grundy, M., Harding, R., Hillman, T., Mount, R., Possingham, H., Saunders, D., Smith, T., Thackway, R., Thom, B., & Cosier, P. (2015). Technical analysis of the Australian regional environmental accounts trial. Sydney: Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists. isbn:978-0-9944577-1-4.Google Scholar
  24. State of the Environment report. (2011). Chapter 2.3 Vegetation. Independent report to the Australian Government Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  25. Thackway, R., & Freudenberger, D. (2016). Accounting for the drivers that degrade and restore landscape functions in Australia. Land, 5(4), 40; 1–20, s1–s15. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/land5040040.
  26. Thackway, R., & Lesslie, R. (2006). Reporting vegetation condition using the Vegetation Assets, States and Transitions (VAST) framework. Ecological Management & Restoration, 7, S53–S62.Google Scholar
  27. Thackway, R., & Lesslie, R. (2008). Describing and mapping human-induced vegetation change in the Australian landscape. Environmental Management, 42, 572–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thackway, R., & Pearson, S. (2017). Assessing changes in the extent and condition of native vegetation on the RAAF Base Amberley – a scoping study. Report prepared for the environment directorate (p. 52). Canberra: Department of Defence. UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy.Google Scholar
  29. Thackway, R., & Specht, A. (2015). Synthesising the effects of land use on natural and managed landscapes. Science of the Total Environment, 526, 136–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Yapp, G. A., & Thackway, R. (2015). Responding to change — Criteria and indicators for managing the transformation of vegetated landscapes to maintain or restore ecosystem diversity. In J. A. Blanco (Ed.), Biodiversity in ecosystems - linking structure and function. ISBN: 978-953-51-2028-5, InTech, Online at: http://www.intechopen.com/books/biodiversity-in-ecosystems-linking-structure-and-function/responding-to-change-criteria-and-indicators-for-managing-the-transformation-of-vegetated-landscapes [Accessed 21 July 2017].Google Scholar
  31. Yapp, G., Walker, J., & Thackway, R. (2010). Linking vegetation type and condition to ecosystem goods and services. Ecological Complexity, 7(3), 292–301.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecocom.2010.04.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zentelis, R., & Lindenmayer, D. (2015). Bombing for biodiversity—Enhancing conservation values of military training areas. Conservation Letters, 8(4), 299–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Thackway
    • 1
  • Frederick Ford
    • 2
  1. 1.UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force AcademyCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Brindabella Business ParkCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations