Not all areas are equal in terms of their potential to contribute to improving the connectivity of the Northern Agricultural Region (NAR). Much of the NAR is made up of unreserved land, so there are several places where the Corridors for Climate Change Project can focus its attention. With such a large region to work on, the Project needs to invest time, efforts and funds strategically, in the areas that will bring the greatest environmental and conservation benefits.
One way the Project is defining and prioritising these areas is through spatial analysis using the Multi-Criteria Analysis Shell for Spatial Decision Support (MCAS-S) software. MCAS-S is a dynamic tool developed by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences that brings the complicated analysis process into the decision-makers’ realm.
It is an easy-to-use, flexible tool that produces an insightful combination of different types of mapped information and interactive ‘live-updates’ with mapping of alternative scenarios for different decisions and approaches. This enables the people making key decisions to have all the information they need to make the best choices for our region.
Earlier this month the Corridors for Climate Change Team worked together with NACC’s GIS Coordinator, the Coastal and Marine Program and the Indigenous Program to carry out an MCAS-S assessment on all landscapes in the NAR.
The workshop drew together a wealth of existing mapping data and detailed knowledge of the region. Discussion was based on the information relating to the distribution of existing reserves, areas of remnant vegetation, location of important wetlands, positioning of productive lands, registered Aboriginal sites, climate resilient areas, location of threatened plants and animals and areas with high connectivity, all of which are of significant importance.
After much enthusiastic debate, the workshop resulted in the identification of a number of key areas that have the potential to improve the connectivity and biodiversity of the NAR. While these areas are all distinctive, they do share several similar characteristics. For instance, they all have high biodiversity and conservation value, the potential to improve landscape connectivity, the ability to act as climate refugia areas and they all provide an opportunity to build on the existing efforts and successes NACC has managed.
The MCAS-S workshop was a great opportunity for different NACC Programs to work together. It highlights that a targeted approach to working in priority areas is needed to ensure that available resources aren’t spread too thinly, whilst maximising the success of these efforts and positive impacts.
If you are interested in mapping the different reserves, wetlands and soils etc. in your region visit www.narvis.com.au
Source: Corridors for Climate Change