The success of GER depends on strong community support, strategic partnerships supported by effective internal communications and external messaging, and demonstrable outcomes for habitat connectivity and biodiversity persistence.
It is vital to be able to show how the project has enhanced connectivity across the GER corridor and improved condition and resilience in the landscape. A number of indicators and associated desired trends are used for this purpose, including:
- reduced pressure from threatening processes, including impacts of introduced species on habitat and native species populations;
- recovery of habitats, expressed as improvement in site condition and increase in area of habitat managed primarily for conservation purposes; and
- management of areas critical to maintaining the health of ecosystem processes.
Partners are able to draw on a rich set of data produced by GER in the past to establish a baseline of vegetation condition and habitat connectivity. These include land tenure and land use, databases recording conservation instruments (e.g. conservation covenants) and project activities, land cover and vegetation change.
It will also be important to monitor to ensure that enhanced connectivity does not deliver perverse outcomes with increases in the threats of invasive species and fire. The GER is building stronger links with existing monitoring programs to improve our ability to measure the effects of partners’ projects on habitat and species populations.
Monitoring provides an important opportunity for the wider community to get involved in GER, through Citizen Science and local monitoring projects. The partnership with the Atlas of Living Australia has developed citizen science tools for surveying and project monitoring. GER partners are increasingly trained in the use of these tools and able to establish projects specifically for community groups, as has been done in the Kosciuszko to Coast Regional Partnership area with the ACT Herpetological Society.