State forest and other lands managed by DEC where flora harvesting is permitted are subject to specific management by a system of allocation and endorsements. Section 5.1.2 above describes the options that DEC has for management of such land. Specific areas of Crown land, not managed by DEC under the Conservation and Land Management Act, may also have special management requirements. Where an inter-agency agreement is reached between DEC and the managing agency, DEC may manage those areas on a more intensive basis in regard to flora harvesting activities. DEC also makes recommendations to other managing agencies on their management of flora harvesting where this is appropriate. The need for special management on Crown lands is assessed according to the following criteria:
· proposals for areas to become conservation reserves; and
· the potential for detrimental impacts from, for example, over harvesting, Phytophthora dieback or erosion.
Regulation of harvest activity of naturally occurring flora on specific areas of private property may be implemented through the standard licence conditions and any specific licence conditions pertaining to the taxa being harvested. Additionally, where a harvest activity has the potential to impact on the conservation of the flora, its habitat or the associated ecosystem, property-specific management can be required to ensure that such an impact does not occur. This management requirement may be as conditions to either the Commercial Producers’ Licence or permits to clear vegetation under the Environmental Protection Act 1986.
126.96.36.199 Taxon-specific management
As outlined in section 188.8.131.52, certain taxa may have special management requirements and are singled out for more intensive management, monitoring and research. Criteria that taxa are assessed on include:
· the quantity harvested;
· the status of the taxon within the conservation estate;
· the distribution, population size and ease of access to the taxon;
· the value of the harvested product;
· the potential for concern over harvest techniques (e.g. regeneration capacity from cut stems);
· the potential impact from pests and diseases (e.g. Phytophthoradieback on Banksia taxa and other taxa, aerial canker); and
· the level of concern in regard to regeneration, including from soil-borne seed banks.
Commercial Purposes and Commercial Producers’ Licences include in their conditions certain flora which may not be harvested, and other flora which may only be harvested under specific endorsement with conditions to ensure the conservation of the flora.
6 Audit, Monitoring, Reporting and Compliance
6.1 Flora Industry Data Management System (FIDMS) As detailed in section 5.3.2, DEC requires flora returns on a quarterly basis from all licensed flora harvesters. All return data is entered in the FIDMS database. The database can be interrogated to determine harvest levels, trends and locations of flora harvested. This information is used to help determine research requirements, management strategies and flora industry monitoring by DEC district staff and Wildlife Officers.
At the time of data entry, flora returns are checked for inconsistencies, such as unusual quantities of flora or parts being taken, and to confirm the identity of flora that is known to be confused by licensees, usually as a consequence of the use of industry common names. The FIDMS database is also set up to reject certain data entry, such as Declared Rare, Priority Flora or other flora that has harvest restrictions, or names that are not current in the Western Australian Herbarium. Queries with flora returns are referred back to the licensee before the return information is accepted into FIDMS.
Upon receiving an application for an export permit for flora sourced from Western Australia, DSEWPaC staff are encouraged to contact DEC to confirm that the proposed export is in accordance with this plan.
Data held in FIDMS is interrogated to check that flora the subject of an application to DSEWPaC for an export permit has been legally sourced from licensed pickers or persons licensed to sell flora taken from private property. This information forms the basis of advice on the appropriateness or otherwise of DSEWPaC granting or renewing an export permit. The comparison of data held in FIDMS with the details included on export applications also provides a means to cross check the information provided. Any discrepancies are followed up with exporters, dealers and licensees to determine the true source of harvested flora.
In the case of protected flora that is identified as artificially propagated by the permit applicant, DEC uses FIDMS and other knowledge of the flora industry to confirm that the plants are indeed artificially propagated. DEC will not advise that the export permit should be issued unless satisfied that the plant has been grown under controlled conditions and that the parental stock is established and managed in a way that it is not detrimental to the species in the wild.
In the case of hybrid cultivars of Western Australian native flora or Australian native plants not native to Western Australia, export applications are checked to ensure that such plants are known to be cultivated by the industry, and that they are not known to be able to be confused with other Western Australian native species. Approval of the application for such flora is provided on the basis that DEC is satisfied that the growing and harvesting of such flora does not pose any threat to native flora or vegetation.
6.2 Flora Dealer Inspections
The Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 provides for the issue of licences to take or sell protected flora and also allows for terms and conditions to be placed on each licence as discussed in section 5.1.1 above. Dealers are not licensed, however, under the legislation they may not sell any protected flora unless they purchase the flora from another person lawfully entitled to sell the flora to them pursuant to the provisions of a licence issued under section 23C or 23D of the Act. In addition, dealers must keep legible records of the quantity and class or description of flora purchased, the date of the purchase and the name and address of the person from whom the flora was purchased. These records must be retained for not less than 12 months, and produced on demand to a Wildlife Officer.
Wildlife Officers carry out routine inspection of dealers' premises. The frequency of inspection depends, in part, on the size and nature of the dealer's operations. A report is filled out for each inspection. Data collected for each dealer includes the date of the last inspection, the taxa of flora found on the premises, the names and licence numbers of the principal flora pickers who supplied the flora, and whether records are being kept according to legal obligations. These reports are used for ongoing monitoring of dealer activity. These reports also assist DEC in making recommendations to DSEWPaC on whether an export authority should be granted or renewed.