Abstract: The assessment of biodiversity condition is becoming increasingly important in natural resource management (NRM), especially within the context of climate change. The challenge facing land and biodiversity conservation managers is knowledge about what biodiversity to assess, how to measure it and how to interpret complex ecological information to inform policy and management decisions. There are few operational frameworks to solve these challenges. This technical report examines the feasibility of identifying appropriate indicators to monitor and assess biodiversity, focusing on an arid rangeland landscape. Using an ecological risk assessment philosophy, we developed a method to identify and select outcome-based indicators to audit biodiversity and assess its condition. We interpreted this challenge as an exercise in designing a biodiversity monitoring program at the regional scale where the purpose of monitoring was to detect change, interpret monitoring data to assess condition and make management decisions. We focused on the regional scale because most planning, management decisions and reporting for biodiversity occurs at this level. Lessons learned in other studies indicated that we needed to take a strategic approach to identifying indicators, as not all indicators will be suitable to measure information pertaining to the desired management outcomes. We were also aware of the importance of acceptance of indicators; therefore, it was important to identify a set of field-based and remotely derived indicators that were scientifically credible and practical to measure. We also propose a new method to interpret biodiversity condition, and we illustrate it using a hypothetical example.
Smyth, AK, Brandle, R, Brook, A, Chewings, VH, Fleming, M, Read, J, 2009, Methods for identifying, selecting and interpreting indicators for assessing biodiversity condition in desert Australia, using the Stony Plains bioregion as a case study, Volume:39, Report, viewed 05 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=4845.