The Fitzgerald Biosphere Recovery Plan represents the suite of threatened and priority species and ecological communities in the region as described in Section 3. The Plan aims to ensure that the limited resources available in the region for threatened species recovery are used efficiently.
The Plan is focused on promoting partnerships and voluntary participation in threatened species and biodiversity management. Implementation of the actions under the plan will aim to avoid significant adverse social or economic impacts, and the greater social and economic benefits to the community of implementing the plan will become apparent in long term.
However, there will be initial and ongoing social and economic impacts as a result of implementing some of the actions in the Plan. For example, the enhancement of the Phytophthora dieback hygiene and management practices across the Biosphere will entail some inconvenience and impact to local communities, such as:
Cost of community awareness programs and improvements to signage and infrastructure.
Restricted access to some areas of the Biosphere particularly susceptible to dieback and further restrictions to access during wet conditions.
Increased costs of road maintenance and other earth moving activities through the requirement for strict vehicle hygiene and the sourcing of dieback-free materials.
However, a benefit resulting from this may be the potential for new business opportunities such as vehicle wash down facilities in strategic locations.
The long term benefits of such actions will outweigh the costs. If dieback were to become widespread across the region, it may result in the loss of species and the collapse of entire ecological communities in the Biosphere. This would dramatically increase the economic costs of controlling and eradicating dieback. Loss of important aesthetic values such as the bush and wildflowers would pose a significant reduction of tourism to the Region, and generate disappointment and loss within the local community fabric.
Implementation of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Recovery Plan has the potential to greatly benefit the local communities of the area both socially and economically. A key aim of this Plan is to foster greater community appreciation and stewardship of the unique biodiversity, threatened species and ecological communities of the Fitzgerald Biosphere, and motivate greater community participation in conservation programs. This is turn will lead to increased health and sustainability of the ecosystems of the Biosphere.
Such longer term benefits may include:
Pride and stewardship in the local community for their natural asset,
This Plan has been developed by staff from the South Coast Region of the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), in consultation with the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) (formally Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts), other staff in DEC, South Coast NRM Inc. and Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park.
The implementation of this Plan will require support and collaboration from a diverse group of stakeholders within the Biosphere, including other State Government agencies, regional natural resource management bodies, local governments, conservation groups, and the community. These stakeholders are listed in Appendix 1.
1.8 Indigenous Interests
The Indigenous people of the Fitzgerald Biosphere are the Noongar people of the Goreng and Wudjari tribes (Jarvis 1979 in Abbott 2009). Many members of the local Aboriginal community continue to have a strong connection with the Biosphere and its fauna and flora. The indigenous names of each threatened species covered by this plan are included in the Species Profiles (Appendix 2). In Western Australia these indigenous names are used by the general community for some species e.g. Chuditch, Woylie.
Consultation for this Plan included a presentation to and discussion with the Albany Aboriginal Heritage Reference Group. Further consultation with local Indigenous groups will be conducted before the implementation of specific actions from this Plan as required.
Some of the actions in this Plan provide opportunities for inclusion of Noongar culture in threatened species recovery, threat abatement and education programs. These may build on existing programs or networks in the Region, such as South Coast NRM’s Restoring Connections project, Gondwana Link’s Caring for Country program and the Bremer Bay to Stirlings Walking Trail Working Group. These are community-driven projects that engage Noongar communities across the South Coast in natural resource management and heritage projects.
Figure : The land tenure of the Fitzgerald Biosphere (approximately 1.3 million hectares) on the south coast of Western Australia. Nominal buffer and transitional zones are characterised by adjacent crown reserve (Unallocated Crown Land, Unmanaged Reserve and Shire Reserves) and freehold lands respectively.
2 Fitzgerald Biosphere
2.1 Biosphere Reserves
Biosphere reserves are an international designation made by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as part of the intergovernmental Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme since 1970. This world network of reserves, which remain under jurisdiction of their own country, perform three main roles (UNESCO's MAB 2001):
Conservation in situ of natural and semi-natural ecosystems and landscapes, as well as the diversity there within;
The establishment of demonstration areas for ecologically and socio-culturally sustainable (land and) resource use; and
The provision of logistic support for research, monitoring, education and training.
Biosphere reserves are developed following a landscape planning and management model which consists of three zones: a core area, buffer zone and a zone of cooperation (UNESCO's MAB 2001). The core area is a zone with minimal human activities (except for research and monitoring) aimed at protecting the landscape, ecosystems and species it contains. The surrounding zone acts as a buffer for the core and accommodates collaborative and sustainable human activities such as research, environmental education and training as well as tourism and recreation. The outer ‘zone of cooperation’ serves to liaise with the larger region in which the biosphere lies, and promotes in particular sustainable development activities such as applied research, traditional use or rehabilitation, human settlements, agriculture and fisheries.