Weeds and Pest Animals
What are the assessment / monitoring tools that are available for these activities? If there are no tools available, how can you measure your achievements otherwise?
A range of tools are being used to gather information on weed and pest animal distribution and density by various stakeholders in the region, including but not limited to:
- Pest Central,
- MAP Info,
- MAT Mobile Assessment Tool,
- Park View ARC 3.1,
- Feralscan, and
- Farm Biosecurity Plans.
Whilst these tools are fulfilling a role for the organisations that use them, the variation in tools does not make it easy to share data between organisations. All of the tools identified record data on extent, management and potentially trends but do not assist with prioritisation or comment on the condition of assets. Pest Central is designed by Biosecurity Queensland to be a platform that numerous entities can use and there are options that can be nominated within the program for levels of data sharing back to the state government.
Some of the barriers identified to sharing pest distribution data currently are:
- Pest Central (Global GBM 2014) is considered expensive and many organisations are choosing not to use it, some of the other tools are used as a preference as they allow data sharing across other areas within the organisation (Calvert 2011),
- Queensland’s Information Privacy Act 2009 (QDJAG 2013) ensures that ‘point-source’ weed and pest animal data cannot be made shared or publically available without permissions, therefore any sharing of data involves a process of data conversion or ‘masking’,
- different organisations may use different species lists for mapping weeds and pest animals,
- biosecurity Queensland has developed the Spatial Pest Attribute (SPA) Standards (Calvert 2012), to encourage streamlining of data, and wider adoption of these standards needs to be encouraged, and
- frameworks have to date had limited success within the Plan area. Discussions and collaboration between entities to ensure that data is shared and made available for NRM planning requires encouragement.
As a result of these data sharing issues, limited pest distribution data is available to the public. The Annual Pest Distribution Survey (APDS) (QDAFF 2014a) data that is collected by Biosecurity Queensland is the only product that is available. This data is collected from some key stakeholders for a number of species, and a full list is available at www.daf.qld.gov.au. Each species is updated around every three years. Some of the limitations of the APDS were identified as:
- not enough key stakeholders are involved in the review process,
- the data is presented at a pixelated level so point source data can’t be recognised, this is valuable for planning on a state/regional scale but not at a sub-catchment or property scale,
- the output of the APDS is a series of maps as PDFs, only available online (daf.qld.gov.au), are difficult to find and not well promoted, and
- there is no analysis of trends in APDS data.
Despite the shortfalls it is agreed that the APDS is the only tool that presents shared data currently and it is important that it is continued. Into the future some of the improvements that could be developed are:
- involving more stakeholders in collection,
- promoting the use of the data more widely,
- investigating the potential of having it as an interactive tool and installing search functions, and
- continuing to investigate opportunities to make data available useful at smaller scales, within the boundaries of the Privacy Act 2009 (QDJAG 2013).
What are the gaps in condition and trend information?
Extensive areas within the region are not being monitored for weeds and pest animals and there is no data recorded. Due to their mobile nature, it would be impossible to effectively map/monitor all weed and pest animal species across the region. There is a significant role in the future for predictive pest mapping and modelling processes to be more widely used. Processes and models such as the joint QMDC/CSIRO Habitat Suitability project (Macdonald and Barker 2014a, 2014b, 2014c) could be extended to wider range of species in the future, and investment in developing tools to present that information to the public is recommended.
Another key gap in condition and trend information identified is a hazard or warning system for contractors or consultants working in resource industries and agriculture in the region and traversing extensively. It was identified that some form of zoning or alert system be developed and presented in map form that could be accessed by individuals to prevent further spread and new outbreaks. This technology is available through geo-fencing software products, however, needs to further developed for contractors and promoted widely to industry.
What are the gaps in general management information and tools?
For the purpose of the review a ‘snapshot’ activity identifying some long term existing management tools, some newer ones and some gaps was undertaken. Responses are recorded in the table below, noting information, research, technology, models and programs that assist with weed and pest animal management in the region. An action identified into the future is a more thorough analysis of the management information, tools and technology available for each of the priority and emerging species to identify gaps that need addressing and research priorities into the future.