5.3.1 Flora Industry Regions
For the purposes of flora industry management, Western Australia has been divided into six regions which correspond as closely as possible with biogeographic, administrative and management boundaries pertinent to the industry. Figure 2 shows DEC's administrative boundaries, while Figure 3 shows the flora industry management regions, as adopted by DEC, and Figure 4 shows IBRA biogeographic regions.
Figure 2. DEC's administrative boundaries (9 Regions).
The six flora industry management regions comprise:
· Southern Sandplain (which largely corresponds with DEC's South Coast Region, plus the eastern part of DEC’s Warren Region);
· Southern Forest (which consists of the western two thirds of DEC's Warren Region, and the southern half of DEC’s South West Region);
· Northern Forest (which consists of the northern half of DEC’s South West Region, with the southern half of Swan Region);
· Northern Sandplain (the northern part of DEC’s Swan Region, in addition to the sandplain north to Carnarvon);
· Wheatbelt; and
· Rangelands (including the goldfields, desert, Pilbara and Kimberley areas).
Figure 3. DEC Flora Industry Management Regions.
Figure 4. IBRA biogeographic regions.
5.3.2 Licence Application, Licensing Procedures and Flora Returns
Application forms must be completed by an applicant before an application for a commercial flora licence can be considered. The application form for a Commercial Purposes Licence is at Appendix 5, and the application form for a Commercial Producer’s or Nurseryman’s Licence is at Appendix 6.
Each licence applicant must nominate area(s) where they wish to pick, and produce written permission from the management authority for that land, where such an authority exists, as part of their licence application. This is to ensure that applicants are aware of the requirement to have permission of land managers before picking, in accordance with regulation 56E(2) of the Wildlife Conservation Regulations 1970 for Crown land, and section 23D(1) of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 for private property. The licence issued has the nominated picking area(s) endorsed on it. In the case of Crown land licences, additional areas can be accessed for flora harvesting provided that the written authority is carried by the picker, as required under licence conditions. In the case of private property, properties must be nominated at the time of licence issue, and protected flora taken from additional properties may not be sold under the licence, even where the landowner has given permission for the flora to be harvested.
On receipt of an application for a commercial flora licence, the DEC screens the application to ensure that it has been completed, and the necessary authorisations are attached. The application is also screened in relation to the flora and products being requested to harvest or sell. Licensees are advised when their application includes prohibited flora, or flora for which special management conditions apply to their harvest, and are required to provide specific justification for such flora to be included in a licence. In such situations, permission is only granted where such conditions can be applied to ensure the conservation of the flora, such as through the species-specific endorsements (Section 126.96.36.199). In the case of private property, applications to sell flora that is otherwise restricted, are investigated to ensure that the flora either is being cultivated on the property, or occurs in sufficient quantity to permit sustainable harvest. This may include property inspections where corroborating evidence is not available.
As a requirement of licence conditions, and in order to facilitate monitoring and enforcement, all commercial licence holders, operating on both Crown and private property, must submit quarterly returns detailing flora taken each month. Data required include taxon, quantity, the unit of measure, and part of flora taken, product use, the status of the land where harvesting was undertaken, whether the flora, is cultivated or wild picked, the name of the private property owner where taken from private land, the grid square location of the flora and the person to whom the flora was supplied.
The licensing system is computerised, containing records of past and present licence holders and all licences held currently and in the past by these persons. In addition, a database management system, containing records of flora returns submitted by licensees, is maintained.
The month prior to the expiry of their licences, licensees receive a renewal notice if the requirement to submit flora returns has been complied with, or, where the requirement has not been met, notification that their licence will not be renewed unless returns are submitted. Reminder letters are automatically computer-generated for those licensees who have overdue flora returns. Failure to submit returns results in non-renewal of the licence.
The State Minister for Environment may revoke a licence that has been issued, or refuse to issue a licence under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 to any person who has been convicted of any offence against the Wildlife Conservation Act or Regulations. This includes offences relating to the contravention of conditions attached to licences.
Harvest data are analysed based on the six flora industry management regions outlined above, and factors influencing biology, ecology and conservation status (including representation in conservation reserves, harvest levels, community/habitat rarity) are also assessed on a regional basis.
The following analyses of harvested taxa can be undertaken using data from flora returns, and other information supplied by DEC officers and industry:
· harvest levels are analysed by taxon to determine major, medium and low use taxa;
· harvest is analysed according to the source of the flora, i.e. whether the flora is taken from Crown or private land, and whether private land harvest is from natural occurring populations, or cultivated flora;
· changing patterns of harvest, or harvest trends, are identified and used as a basis for investigation into causes and potential management issues;
· the main purpose of harvesting is determined, i.e. dried flowers, fresh flowers, seed or woody products; and
· harvest data are analysed at the level of each of the six regions detailed in section 5.3.1, based on 1 by 1 30' grid cells in the south west and 4 by 6 grid cells in the remainder of the State. A comparison of numbers of taxa and quantity within regions and grid cells is undertaken and provided to regional managers to assist in planning monitoring activities.
DEC's management is based on these analyses and factors such as the taxon’s conservation status, monitoring reports from DEC field officers and research results. These data also help define priorities for research.
Data from flora returns may also be provided in compiled form to industry and other sectors to assist in flora industry development and assessment.