Field Naturalists Club of Victoria Inc

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					                  Field Naturalists Club
                  of Victoria Inc.
                  Understanding Our Natural World
                    Reg. No A0033611X
Postal Address:       Locked Bag 3, Blackburn Victoria, 3130 Australia
Club Address:         1 Gardenia Street, Blackburn Victoria, 3130 Australia

Ph/Fax:               03 9877 9860
Website:                                 Est. 1880

Submission to the DSE Land and Biodiversity at a Time of Climate Change Green Paper,
from the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria (FNCV)

The Green Paper provides a good overview of the issues that are important drivers of
change to the Victorian environment. Victoria is very rich in native biodiversity because it
comprises elements of most of the Australian biogeographic zones, including alpine, arid,
temperate and rainforest. Victoria contains areas of the most threatened system in Australia
(the temperate native grasslands), and potentially one of the most threatened systems under
current climate change predictions (the alpine region). Other systems are severely degraded
through native vegetation clearance, salinity, weed invasion, and feral animals. A high
proportion of Victoria’s fauna, flora and ecological communities are under varying degrees
of threat.

Victoria was a leader in Australian conservation with the passing of the Flora and Fauna
Guarantee Act in 1988, which enabled the listing of threatened taxa, communities and
threatening processes. However, while the FFG Act has gone some way toward addressing
some of the environmental problems, the situation has not significantly improved. Blame
cannot be attributed to the FFG Act; the lack of success is due to the lack of commitment
and resources by Victorian Governments of both political parties.

The FNCV believes that the Land and Biodiversity Green Paper is a missed opportunity for
the Government to show leadership in environmental stewardship. The recommendations
of the Green Paper primarily give a green light to continuing the current status quo for
biodiversity conservation in Victoria. Some of the current programmes are very good, but
some are ad hoc, and the Green Paper should be an opportunity to provide a strong and
inventive framework for land and biodiversity. Most disappointing is that there is no clear
commitment to adequately resource biodiversity programmes. Instead, the Green Paper has
a strong emphasis on market solutions.

The Green Paper needs to provide firm commitments to:
•  stop the clearing of native vegetation;
•  ensure effective environmental flows for rivers;
•  resource and manage the reserve system across the State;
•  better control weeds and feral animals; and
•  provide a landscape that will protect native biodiversity against future climate change.
The FNCV believes that these objectives can be achieved only with firm commitments to:

(1) documenting our flora and fauna;
(2) long-term monitoring of flora and fauna, especially in the face of climate change; and
(3) decision-making based on a greater understanding of the importance of native
    biodiversity for the provision of ecosystem services.

The FNCV thanks DSE for the opportunity to comment on the Green Paper, and looks
forward to a White Paper that takes on board the issues outlined above, in order to
conserve Victoria’s unique biodiversity.

(Dr) Gary Presland

30 June 2008


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