The importance of adaptive management in ‘off-reserve’ conservation for forest fauna: implementing, monitoring and upgrading Swift ParrotLathamus discolor conservation measures in Tasmania
Sarah Munks, Karen Richards, Jeff Meggs, Raymond Brereton, 2004. "The importance of adaptive management in ‘off-reserve’ conservation for forest fauna: implementing, monitoring and upgrading Swift ParrotLathamus discolor conservation measures in Tasmania", Conservation of Australia's Forest Fauna, Daniel Lunney
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As formal reservation targets are attained in Tasmania, a large component of habitats important for populations of threatened fauna will remain in the ‘off-reserve’ landscape. Over eighty percent of Swift ParrotLathamus discolor foraging habitat occurs on private land, potentially subject to production forestry or agriculture. As a first step in monitoring the effectiveness of management prescriptions for the conservation of swift parrot foraging habitat in ‘off-reserve’ areas, an assessment was made of their implementation in 57 forestry operations conducted between February 1995 and March 1998. Prescriptions advised by specialists were generally incorporated into timber harvesting plans. However, post-harvest assessment of 10 operation areas (nine on private and one on State forest) containing high or medium quality habitat suggested that implementation of prescriptions on the ground was not effective in capturing foraging habitat. Although the prescribed clumps of trees were retained in all operation areas, and all clumps included someEucalyptus globulus, only 16 percent of clumps surveyed contained the prescribed number of prime foraging trees (2-3 matureE. globulus). In part, this was thought to be due to the low level of detail in the plans describing how contractors, responsible for the timber harvesting, should implement the prescriptions. However, comparison with the composition of ‘control’ clumps retained in adjacent intact forest suggested that clump retention was an inappropriate prescription for most of the operation areas on private land, where forage trees were sparsely distributed. Where clumps of foraging habitat were retained, there was substantial post-harvest disturbance bringing into question the long-term effectiveness of such prescriptions even when correctly applied in forestry operations. As a result of this work, the swift parrot prescriptions were modified to better achieve retention of foraging habitat through the adoption of a patch retention strategy. In addition, steps were taken to improve standards of implementation by foresters and contractors. These included more intense training for foresters and the development of planning tools to clarify and simplify prescriptions. Importantly, recent legislative changes have provided an instrument to potentially achieve long-term conservation of retained habitat on private land.