Management of Commercial Harvesting of Protected Flora in Western Australia 1 July 2013 – 30 June 2018



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Management of Commercial Harvesting

of Protected Flora in Western Australia

1 July 2013 – 30 June 2018

__________________________________________________________________


For submission under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999





June 2013




Department of Environment and Conservation

Published by the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation June 2013.


 Department of Environment and Conservation

TABLE OF CONTENTS
SUMMARY

1

June 2013 1

Department of Environment and Conservation 1

Summary 4

3.1 Dieback Disease Caused by Phytophthora Species 11

3.1.1 Disease Management 12

3.1.2 Control of Access 13

3.1.3 Phytosanitary Measures 14

3.1.4 Coordination of Phytophthora dieback management and research 14

3.2 Aerial Canker 15

3.3 Fire 15

3.4 Land Clearing 15

3.5 Mining 16

5.1.1 Licences 21

5.1.2 Endorsements 22

5.1.2.1 Endorsements on Crown land managed by DEC 23

5.1.2.2 Endorsements on other vested Crown lands or reserves 23

5.1.2.3 Endorsements on unallocated Crown land and unmanaged Crown reserves 23

5.1.2.4 Taxon-specific Endorsements 23

5.1.2.5 Quotas 24

5.1.3 Conservation Reserves 24

5.1.4 Declared Rare Flora 25

5.1.5 Research 27

Such taxa will not be added to the Export Flora List until the formal process for adding the taxon has been completed. 31

5.3 Monitoring and Assessment 35

5.3.1 Flora Industry Regions 35

5.3.3 Analyses of Flora Harvest 39

5.3.4 Assessment of Management Options 39

5.3.4.1 Area-specific management 39

5.3.4.2 Taxon-specific management 40

6 Audit, Monitoring, Reporting and Compliance 41

6.2 Flora Dealer Inspections 41

6.3 District Monitoring and Reporting 42

6.5 Advisory Committees on Flora Conservation 44

6.6 REPORTS 46

6.6.1 DEC Reports 46

6.6.2 Reports to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 47

6.6.3 Reports from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 47

7 KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS 48

8 REFERENCES 49

WA FLORA MANAGEMENT PLAN 50

Allocasuarina decussata Karri She-oak 50

Homalospermum firmum 54

1. Citation 1

2. Interpretation 1

3. Rare flora 1

4. Application 1

5. Revocation 1


Schedule 1 — Extant taxa 2

Division 1 — Spermatophyta (flowering plants, conifers and cycads) 2

Division 2 — Pteridophyta (ferns and fern allies) 7

Division 3 — Bryophyta (mosses and liverworts) 7

Schedule 2 — Taxa Presumed to be extinct [cl. 3(b)] 1

Spermatophyta (flowering plants, conifers and cycads) 1

DECEMBER 1998 2

INTRODUCTION 2

MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES 2

A. MANAGEMENT OF UNINFESTED AREAS WHICH ARE PROTECTABLE 2

D. RESEARCH AND LIAISON 3

E. ENCOURAGE COMMUNITY INTEREST AND PARTICIPATION 3

COMMERCIAL PURPOSES LICENCE 10

COMMERCIAL PURPOSES LICENCE 11

CONDITIONS 15

Further Conditions Relating To Commercial Producer’s Licence 16


General 16

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ACT 1999


- SECT 303FO
Approved wildlife trade management plan
3



MANAGEMENT OF COMMERCIAL HARVESTING OF PROTECTED FLORA IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Summary



Background
Western Australia has a rich and diverse native flora, that is internationally renowned. The conservation of this flora is a major undertaking in the State, with the recognition of the south west region being one of the top 34 world biodiversity hotspots highlighting the importance of this conservation work. The commercial harvesting of native flora is a significant industry in Western Australia, especially in the south west, and its management is an important part of the flora conservation activities in the State.
The sustainable field harvesting of native flora is a key mechanism through which we can help to ensure the long term retention of native flora by providing a clear economic value to the flora’s habitat. This value is attributed through harvesting on both private and public (Crown) lands and occurs outside the core nature conservation reserve system. Harvesting on both public and private land helps to provide financial and management incentives to landholders to value and conserve the State’s flora.
What is Covered by the Plan?
This plan covers:

  • All protected flora in Western Australia (all Western Australian native plants); and

  • All Australian native plants that are not native to Western Australia but are growing in Western Australia.


Legislative Framework
The management of the flora industry in Western Australia is primarily through the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, and the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984. Industry regulation is thus on the basis of flora conservation and appropriate land management, rather than for industry development per se. A system of licensing, area and species-specific management, and monitoring has been developed to ensure the conservation of flora being harvested. This system complements other flora conservation initiatives being undertaken in the State, including the undertaking of biogeographical surveys, the development and management of a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system, the identification and conservation of threatened species, and the investigation into, and management of, key threatening processes.
This management plan describes the various elements of the management system in place for the conservation of commercially harvested native plant taxa in WA.

1. Introduction


    1. 1.1 Purpose of the Management Plan

This plan has been developed by the Department of Environment and Conservation to satisfy the requirements of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and to meet the legislative, policy and other requirements of the Western Australian Government for the period from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2018. It is intended to address the goals of the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biological Diversity and the Department of Environment and Conservation’s (DEC) draft Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.


The plan is designed to meet the requirements for approval of a Wildlife Trade Management Plan under the EPBC Act


    1. 1.2 Scope of the Management Plan

Flora is defined in the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 as "any plant, including any wildflower, palm, shrub, tree, fern, creeper or vine which is either native to Western Australia or declared to be flora under the Act and includes any part of flora and all seeds and spores thereof". Thus, all parts of the plant including roots, branches, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds and spores come within the legal meaning of flora1. Plants from other parts of Australia (and not declared to be flora in WA) and which are growing in WA, are not referred to as “flora” in this plan, but are instead referred to as “Australian native plants that are not native to Western Australia”.


Classes of flora which are protected in WA under the Wildlife Conservation Act include all flowering plants, conifers and cycads (Spermatophyta), ferns and fern allies (Pteridophyta), mosses and liverworts (Bryophyta) and algae, fungi and lichens (Thallophyta). Under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, protected flora on Crown land is deemed to be the property of the Crown, until legally taken.
As indicated above, all Western Australian native plants are protected flora under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950. This Act also provides for plants not native to Western Australia to be declared as protected flora. At the time of publication, no such plants have been declared as protected flora.
Australian native plants that are not native to Western Australia are not protected flora (unless otherwise declared) and the harvesting of such plants in WA is not subject to regulation under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (unless declared). The cultivation and harvest of such plants does not threaten Western Australian native flora or their habitat. As Western Australia is outside their natural range, the taking of these plants in Western Australia is considered sustainable and non-detrimental. Thus, their harvest in Western Australia is also covered by this plan and may be considered to be taken in accordance with this management plan.
Protected flora may be harvested for commercial purposes subject to the management controls as outlined in this Management Plan. This plan covers the commercial taking (picking) of all protected flora within Western Australia, and has been specifically prepared for approval by the Commonwealth Government in relation to the export of material from the Commonwealth- and State- approved Export Flora List (Appendix 1).

Only taxa listed on the Export Flora List (Appendix 1) may be exported under this plan, unless being exported as a DEC-approved test export. At the time of publication, the Export Flora List allows the export of:



  • All Australian native plants that are not native to Western Australia and that are artificially propagated or wild-harvested in WA1;

  • All protected flora (Western Australian native plants) that are artificially propagated in WA1; and

  • Specimens of listed species of protected flora (174 species at the time of preparation of this plan) that may be taken from naturally occurring stands in WA (wild-harvested), in accordance with specified conditions.

This plan does not cover the export of:



  • Any CITES I species or eligible threatened species listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Seeds do not require an export permit or authority under the EPBC Act, however, flowers, foliage, fruits and whole plants do require a permit for export, and export authorisation may only be given where the flora has been harvested in accordance with this Management Plan once approved. All approved flora products (eg. flowers, foliage, fruits, seed and plants) taken under this plan may also be traded within Western Australia and the rest of Australia, subject to individual State and Territory controls.


This management plan also provides for the commercial harvesting of whole plants of protected flora in DEC-approved salvage operations within Western Australia.
This plan replaces the previous 2008-2013 Management Plan prepared for the harvest of protected flora from Western Australia. This plan covers those taxa listed in the Export Flora List (Appendix 1), as updated during the term of this plan. This plan also covers any other protected flora taxa that may, from time to time, be permitted to be harvested from within Western Australia and traded commercially within Australia, or exported only as test exports under 5.2.3.2. The Department may also prepare separate subsidiary management plans for individual taxa or groups of taxa which may require additional management measures. Such management plans will be forwarded separately to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPAC) for approval under the EPBC Act, where appropriate.
This plan may be amended or varied prior to the expiration of its approval under the EPBC Act if the amendments or variations are approved by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment after consultation with DEC.



    1. 1.3 Reason for Wildlife Harvest

The commercial harvesting of wildflowers and foliage for the cut flower trade started in WA in the 1950s. Since then, the native flora industry in Western Australia has become a multi-million dollar industry.


In 2011/12 the wildflower and foliage industry in Western Australia was estimated to have an export value of approximately $4.7 million (Kevin Seaton, Department of Agriculture and Food, pers. com.). This represents a 24% drop in exports over the previous two years and indicates an uncertainty in overseas markets. Some stabilization of the world economy may see a rise in commodity prices in the future and an increased interest in wildflowers (Kevin Seaton, Department of Agriculture and Food, pers. com.). In 2006/07 approximately 64% ($5.69 million) of exports were from wild-harvested wildflowers and foliage (from natural stands on both Crown and private land) however in 2011/12 this figure dropped to 45% ($2.12 million) (DEC flora return database) with the majority now coming from cultivation. In 2012 wild-harvested flora exported directly out of Western Australia went mainly to the Asian market with 82% of the total exports destined for Japan (ABS, 2013). Canada and the United Kingdom were the second and third biggest recipients of exports at 9% and 6% respectively. The remaining 3% went to Singapore, China and Taiwan.
The WA Flora Industry also includes: seed harvesting, primarily for propagation and revegetation purposes; Eucalyptus species stems for production of didgeridoos; and nuts and grasstree stems for the craft market. There is no data available on the value of these industries, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it is worth millions of dollars to the State’s economy.
In 2011/2012 a total of 303 Commercial Purposes Licences were issued to commercial Crown land pickers, and 204 Commercial Producers Licences for private property were issued to sell native flora (both wild-harvested and artificially propagated).
An adequately regulated system of flora harvesting provides a useful economic incentive for active conservation of flora resources, far and above the threats of penalties for clearing native vegetation.



  1. Background Information




    1. Biology and Ecology of Target Species

Summary information on the biology and ecology of each species of protected flora native to Western Australia can be accessed through the Department’s Florabase website http://florabase.dec.wa.gov.au/. This includes plant description, habitat, flowering time, species distribution and conservation status. None of the taxa which are listed on the Export Flora List are Threatened or Priority species (of conservation concern).


Information on the parts harvested and industry specification has already been collated for taxa on the Export Flora List.

Figure 1. Information on target species biology and ecology can be found on the Department’s Florabase website




    1. Conservation Status of Target Species

The groupings of flora into categories within the Export Flora List (Appendix 1) reflect the structured management strategy being used in Western Australia for commercial flora harvesting and flora conservation. The Export Flora List is arranged so that the extent of specific picking or trade restrictions for any listed taxon can be readily identified and reflect market-driven conservation strategies. The structured management approach to flora conservation is:




  • Declared Rare flora (see section 5.1.4 and 5.2.3.3) taxa may not be taken without special permission of the State Minister for Environment, and are not included on the Export Flora List;




  • State “priority” listed (see section 5.2.3.3) flora taxa and certain other flora taxa identified as requiring specific management may not be harvested from Crown land, but may be harvested from private property;




  • certain flora taxa may be harvested from Crown land, but only under special endorsement that has specific management conditions imposed; and




  • flora taxa that have no identified specific management requirements may be harvested from Crown land under general collecting licences with general management conditions.

The Export Flora List provides a clear means of restricting the number of taxa being exploited for the export market where greatest market demand occurs. At the time of writing this plan, the Export Flora List contained 174 taxa permitted for harvesting from natural stands of the 12,257 taxa of Western Australian vascular flora (as at 1 June 2012) (DEC, 2012).


2.3 Legislative Basis for Management
2.3.1 Western Australian State Legislation
The Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, as detailed above (section 1.1) protects flora native to Western Australia (and Australian native plants that are not native to Western Australia and declared to be protected). This protection provides the basis for the management of the flora industry in Western Australia, as detailed in this management plan.
Under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984, DEC is responsible for the conservation and management of protected flora throughout Western Australia, and for administration of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950. DEC thus has the authority to exert controls on the commercial harvesting of protected flora in Western Australia on all lands. DEC is also responsible for the management of various public lands including national parks, conservation parks, nature reserves, State forests and timber reserves.
Amendments to the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 in 1993 gave DEC the statutory authority to promote research on, and encourage the use of, flora for therapeutic, scientific or horticultural purposes. The amendments also give the Western Australia Minister for Environment and the Director General of DEC powers to control the issue of licences for the purpose of developing the potential of products for therapeutic, scientific or horticultural purposes. These powers include the right to provide an exclusive licence.
Amendments to Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 in 2004 introduced reformed vegetation clearing regulations for Western Australia (refer to Section 3.4 – Land Clearing). These regulations require that the clearing of native vegetation must be done under a permit, unless subject to a legal exemption. The issue of licences under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1050 to take or sell protected flora provides an exemption from requiring a clearing permit for that activity under the Environmental Protection Act 1986. Consequently there is an onus on DEC when assessing flora licences to ensure the activity does not conflict with the ten clearing principles for biodiversity, water and soil conservation included in the vegetation clearing assessment framework of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Department of Land Administration in relation to management of the flora industry on unallocated Crown land (UCL) and unmanaged Crown reserves in WA was signed in March 2000. Under this agreement DEC has the ability to implement specific management control measures in relation to flora harvesting over all UCL and unmanaged Crown reserves in Western Australia.
In addition, the Department has a series of formal policy statements to direct its operations. Policy Statement No. 13 addresses the issue of commercial flora harvesting (Appendix 2). It outlines DEC’s overall objective, policies and strategies for the commercial flora industry to ensure that commercial flora harvesting is ecologically sustainable.
Broad strategies for conservation have been developed in the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biological Diversity (Anon, 1996), and DEC’s draft Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Western Australia (DEC, 2006a). These strategies detail general objectives for maintaining biodiversity. The draft Biodiversity Conservation Strategy also addresses the special needs of harvested taxa.
The key strategic directions of the draft Biodiversity Conservation Strategy are:

· Build biodiversity knowledge and improve information management;

· Promote awareness and understanding of biodiversity and related conservation issues;


  • Engage and encourage people in biodiversity conservation management;

· Improve biodiversity conservation requirements in natural resource use sectors;

· Enhance effective institutional mechanisms and improve integration and coordination of biodiversity conservation



  • Establish and manage the formal conservation reserve system

  • Recover threatened species and ecological communities and manage other significant species/ecological communities and ecosystems

  • Conserve landscapes/seascapes for biodiversity (integrating on and off-reserve conservation and managing system-wide threats)

One of the objectives of the strategy is to ensure special recognition is given to biodiversity conservation in ecologically sustainable development of natural resources. The draft Biodiversity Conservation Strategy has identified four primary actions:


· To trial new flora and fauna suitable for sustainable use industries, where conservation benefits will be derived, and continue the sustainable use of accredited wildlife-based industries;

· Undertake research on key wildlife species, potentially or currently the subject of wildlife interaction such as whale sharks;

· Develop and implement a sustainable sandalwood plan that provides for biodiversity conservation; and

· Develop and implement appropriate protocols and practices to ensure that industries operating on Crown land and waters (for example apiculture, wildflower and seed harvesting and aquaculture) are consistent with principles of ecologically sustainable development.


While all native flora is protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, only that flora occurring on Crown land is vested in the Crown, and protected flora occurring on private property is owned by the land owner. Further, it is recognised that private land owners have a vested interest in the conservation and management of their land, and consequently are able to provide more intensive management and regulation of harvesting activities on their lands. As a consequence, the regulatory measures applicable to the management of the flora industry within Western Australia vary between Crown land and private property. The management of the flora industry in Western Australia is, however, effective in ensuring the conservation of the flora through the provisions of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, and the operation of other applicable legislation such as the Environmental Protection Act (refer to Section 3.4 – Land Clearing).
2.3.2 Federal Legislation
Flora harvesting, as well as other activities that may affect flora such as land-clearing and mining (see 3.4 and 3.5 below), are subject to the environmental assessment and approval provisions of Chapter 4 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Under the EPBC Act a person must not take an action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on a matter of National Environmental Significance (which includes nationally threatened species and ecological communities) without approval from the Commonwealth Environment Minister.
Any significant impact on a matter of National Environmental Significance needs to be referred to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, which administers the EPBC Act. The list of EPBC-listed threatened species and ecological communities, as well as guidelines on referring actions, can be obtained from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities at www.environment.gov.au.


  1. Threats and Issues
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