Within each priority landscape, regional planning is used to bring together the best available information on conservation priorities, partners’ programs and delivery capacity and local knowledge to develop agreement on where to work.
GER has adopted the ‘Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation’, which provide a well-accepted model for planning and implementation of regional conservation projects by conservation organisations and projects worldwide. The Open Standards are one means by which the GER is able to ensure consistency with planning approaches used by partners along the length of the GER corridor.
Development of conservation action plans provides an important early collaborative activity in each of the GER regional partnerships. The approach has proved effective in that it allows the integration of information derived from several key sources:
- spatial analytical products which establish modelled metrics for vegetation condition, habitat condition and meta-population viability;
- mapping of conservation opportunities and constraints (including land tenure, conservation commitments and NRM investments); and
- local knowledge of pressures and sources of pressure acting in the landscape.
In addition to allowing for collation and interpretation of available information on regional conservation priorities, the process undertaken in each of the three landscapes assists with clarifying regional partners’ expectations and capacity to deliver local outcomes.
The approach implicitly addresses the threats to conservation assets in the planning area. It acknowledges the importance of considering the potential risks associated with increasing connectivity and the placement of management interventions relative to conservation assets.
Regional conservation planning involves completing a situation analysis by identifying the key factors that drive threats and ultimately influence conservation targets, and where these are applied. These include:
- Direct threats – derived from human activities that immediately degrade a conservation target (e.g., unsustainable logging, infrastructure development and maintenance), as well as natural phenomena altered by human activities (e.g. fragmentation of habitats across developed areas, introduced species, changed hydrological flows) and natural phenomena whose impact is increased by other human activities (e.g. potential for inappropriate fire regimes to eliminate an isolated threatened plant population).
- Indirect threats (also known as root causes and drivers), opportunities and enabling conditions – these are factors that influence the appearance and extent of threats, and can range in scale from local to global (e.g. population expansion, development of new industries).