Management achievement is about delivering expected outputs and outcomes. In relation to biodiversity, we might hope that program objectives are being met with:
- timely delivery of products and services
- reduction of current pressures and emerging risks to biodiversity
- improvements to resilience of biodiversity (and coupled social–ecological systems).
These issues have been discussed above to some extent. The Assessment of Australia’s Terrestrial Biodiversity 2008,15 while drawing a number of complimentary conclusions about the responses of Australian governments to the challenges of biodiversity conservation, also came to the following conclusions:
- We have few effective and systematic monitoring systems for evaluation and limited resources invested in responses to threats compared with the scale and nature of the threats.
- The scale of the impacts from threatening processes is such that the voluntary and uncoordinated approaches adopted to date will not be effective.
- Getting the mix of responses right will require levels of cooperation hitherto not fully demonstrated.
- The move to large-scale, multipartner responses that take a systems approach and focus on ecological processes is an encouraging development.
- Key lessons from the large-scale intensive threat abatement case studies include building on and integrating with existing programs; the need for cross-tenure delivery; and having well-designed monitoring and evaluation for adaptive management.
- Promising features of private land biodiversity conservation programs include the use of economic instruments and incentive-based policies to achieve biodiversity objectives; incorporation of biodiversity conservation in whole-farm or property management plans; and bioregional and catchment planning.
- Growth in protected areas from 2002 to 2006 represents a substantial increase on the rate for the previous decade, but still falls well below what would be required to meet a target of 10% reservation for every bioregion by 2010 (see Section 4.4.1).
- Ultimately, the long-term future of biodiversity on private land will rely on land managers valuing the protection and maintenance of biodiversity.
- Most regional organisations have built on a history of catchment planning to successfully develop a strong strategic basis for delivering programs that are based on the specific conditions and circumstances of the region.
- The regional model provides for negotiated target setting that can operate within, but is relatively unimpeded by, an often highly contested and adversarial regulatory setting for biodiversity conservation. The resulting regional biodiversity targets are more likely to be understood, owned and accepted by the people who need to be engaged in biodiversity conservation on the ground, especially landholders. (Note that negotiated target setting is no longer a feature under the recently implemented Caring for our Country program—targets are determined nationally and articulated in the business plan.)