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TOWARDS ECOSYSTEM ACCOUNTING
The starting point for accounting for ecosystems at the ABS has been determining the extent of different land cover types, which are a proxy for ecosystems, can be measured using remote sensing techniques and hence are amendable to large scale estimation and regular production (i.e. annual). The Victorian Land Account, Experimental Estimates, provides a series of tables showing land cover for the years 1750 and 2006, for each natural resource management region. As there is a correlation between native vegetation extent and number of species(footnote 7), the area of native vegetation could be used to predict the number of species in a particular region and hence provide an indication of the condition of biodiversity that region.
Different spatial boundaries may be used to present information on native vegetation, and the most appropriate boundary will depend on the type of analysis being undertaken. The tables presented here (Tables 4.1 - 6.4) show native vegetation according to Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions, Statistical Areas (SA4) and Interim Bioregional Assessment regions (IBRA). NRM regions are useful because they represent the boundaries of the Catchment Management Authorities which are responsible for land management. SA4 are useful because these are the boundaries that link to the social and economic data of the ABS, while IBRA regions are defined by physical characteristics. One of the challenges when using information based on different spatial boundaries are that because of differences in coverage, and in particular where the boundary are drawn with respect to the shoreline, there are slight differences in the area shown for Victoria when the native vegetation data are intersected with other data layers.
Figure 1 shows the percentage of native vegetation remaining in 2006 compared to 1750 for each of the NRM regions of Victoria.
Fig 1 Percentage of 1750 native vegetation remaining in 2006 by NRM region
1 Para 2.34, SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting. <back
2 http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/pubs/ecosystem-services.pdf <back
3 http://www.daff.gov.au/natural-resources/ecosystem-services/ecosystem-services-report <back
4 Accounting for Nature (2008) and Trials of Environmental Asset Condition (2001) http://www.wentworthgroup.org/ <back
5 http://www.ecosystemservicesseq.com.au/ <back
6 Assessing the quality of native vegetation: The ‘habitat hectares’ approach.http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farming-management/business-management/ems-in-victorian-agriculture/environmental-monitoring-tools/the-habitat-hectares-approach <back
7 Brooks, T.M, Mittermeier, R.A., Mittermeier, C.G, da Fonseca, G.A.B., Rylans, A.B., Konstant, W.R., Flick, P., Pilgrim, J., Oldfield, S., Magin, G., Hilton-Taylor, C. (2002). Habitat loss and extinction in the hotspots of biodiversity. Conservation Biology 16(4): 909-923 <back
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