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Biodiversity Policies in Australia

Question:

Discuss About The Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999?

This paper also defines the key issues in the study and summarizes the history and the need for a development of the biodiversity protection. The paper also outlines the aims and objectives of the policies and how they have helped to contain the situation and to protect biodiversity in the country. The report also contains a detailed critical review of the policies that have been put in place to protect biodiversity. The final part of the report contains recommendations and a brief conclusion to give a general summary of the issues that have been identified in the study.

This report analyzes the biodiversity policies in Australia. The report discusses the policies that the government has put in place to protect biodiversity. Biodiversity can generally be described as the variability of life on the earth. United Nations Environment Program describes biodiversity as a measure of variation at eh genetic level, species and ecosystems level. This report, therefore, evaluates the policies and programs that have been put in place to help protect, ecosystems, genetics, and species in Australia.

The issues that this report seeks to evaluate include the policies that the government of Australia has been able to design in order to facilitate and support bio-banking. Biodiversity banking and offset scheme under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 was started in August 2017(Ansell, Gibson & salt, 2016). The aim of this legislation was to address the loss of biodiversity values due to degradation of habitats. Biodiversity banking is a market-based scheme that provides a streamlined biodiversity assessment process that enables a rigorous scheme that helps owners of land to get income by managing land for conservation (Australian biological resources study, 2010). This works by generating biodiversity credits by landowners who commit themselves to protecting values of biodiversity on their own land by signing the bio banking agreement. The credits generated over time can be sold to generate money to help manage their land. An ecological community is a natural group of plants, animals and other organisms which are native interact with the unique natural habitat. Types of ecological communities include;forests, wetlands, marine, woodlands, grasslands, ground springs and cave communities. Native plants and animals in an ecological community play different roles and they interact differently to contribute to a healthy environment. The functioning of these contributes to the better productivity of land and water which benefits the society in general.

Biodiversity Protection in Other Countries

Biodiversity has been a subject of discussion in the environment circles over the years. The concept of biodiversity was conceived by Walter Rosen of the National Academy of Science (NAS) in the year 1985. During this period, there was a great concern for conservation both among the scientist and the society in general. This resulted in the formation of the society for conservation Biology (SCB) in the year 1985. In the year 1987, the society published the first journal of titled Conservation Biology (Lindenmayer & Gibbons, 2012). The biodiversity is unevenly distributed throughout the earth and its rich in the tropical areas. The latitude gradients of places also determine the biodiversity of a place. Marine biodiversity is high among coastlines where there are many sea creatures and insects. Changes in environmental conditions can be extinction in plants and animals. The number of species remaining on earth is estimated to be between 10 million and 14 million. There is a great need for development in biodiversity because of the increasing threat that the species and the ecological communities are facing.

The policies of the United Kingdom in regard to conservation and protection of biodiversity are very similar to those of Australia. These policies are driven by different frameworks, legislation and agreements. The UK became the first country in the year 1994 to produce a national biodiversity action plan(UK BAP). This was done to fulfill its commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity(Steffen, 2010). The country also produced a framework on Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework which is supported by the legislation of all member countries. The country has also determined a set of biodiversity indicators to help in measuring the level of threat to biodiversity and the achievements made in conserving biodiversity.

The other country that has similar policies to those of Australia is the United States. In the USA, the term biodiversity is not commonly used and the common term is natural heritage. This legislation includes the Species protection law, forestry law, and the Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). The Coastal Zone Management Act is also an important law helping to preserve biodiversity in the United States.

Countries in the European Union such as France and Norway have very good legislation and policies which help to protect biodiversity in their country. These policies are also similar to Australia. They have frameworks and strategic plans which guide them in implementing the legislation to help preserve and conserve biodiversity.

Bio-Banking and Ecological Communities' Protection in Australia

The aims of this policy review are to help determine the steps that have been made in regard to the biodiversity conservation and preservation. The review also helps to evaluate the policies and framework that have been put in place to help protect biodiversity over the years. This report also helps in identifying how these policies have worked to help achieve the desired goals (Lindenmayer, Burns, Thurgate,& Lowe, 2013). This report also seeks to identify loopholes in the existing legislation and make recommendations on the improvements that can be made.

Australia has very concrete and clear policies that help to conserve species, genetics and ecological communities. These policies and legislation have been developed and transformed over the years to help come up with a very effective means of protecting biodiversity in Australia and the whole world. This paper mainly focuses on bio banking and ecological communities’ protection.

The Biodiversity banking and offset scheme were developed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act of 2016. This is one of the major frameworks that Australia has put in place to help in bio banking. The priority/aims and objectives of this legislation are to help protect endangered plants, animals and ecosystems. This legislation was motivated by the high rates of extinction among animals and plants as well as ecological communities. The habitats of these animals and plants have also been destroyed over time due to changes in climate and due to human interference (Bradstock,  Williams, & Gill, 2012).

The scheme on biodiversity and banking was introduced by the government to help deal with the great loss of biodiversity values. These values include threatened species and ecological community due to degradation of their environment. This scheme provided an opportunity for land owners to earn income by managing and conserving their own land according to the standards provided in the scheme. When these farmers commit to protect the values of biodiversity in the land which they own and carry out their farming activities, they earn biodiversity credits having signed bio banking agreements. These credits can be sold to other farmers or any client willing to offset the carbon sequestration levels in their land or region.

This policy has worked very well in helping individual citizens to be involved in the preservation of biodiversity. This ensures that it is not the government agencies only being involved in conservation effort but also farmers across the country. The reward scheme which helps farmers to generate income will help this policy to be very effective in conserving biodiversity through bio banking. The implementation of this policy began in August 2017 and therefore it's difficult to determine its level of success.

Threatened Ecological Species and Communities Protection

The government has also put various policies and legislation to help protect threatened ecological communities Australia such as The environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1991 (EPBC). The ecological communities protected under this law include the Natural Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain, Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens, Littoral Rain forest and the Weeping Myall Woodlands. It is important to protect the ecological communities due to the combination of landscapes and seas which helps to provide a very conducive environment. The protection of ecological communities also brings about an increase in tourism and productivity of the land. The threatened ecological species include the wetlands and bushy savannas which have been placed under threat over the years since colonial times. An ecological community is listed when the community becomes almost extinct. This may happen due to various reasons such as bush fires, climate change, and diversion of water channels, pollution and development of urban areas. There are three categories of listing ecological communities (TECs). They include; critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable. The listing process of ecological communities is very rigorous and strict which involves various stakeholders and experts. The listing mostly depends on the advice Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC). The listing of ecological communities has helped to achieve tremendous success. The listing has helped to identify the ecological communities under pressure of extinction due to various reasons. This gives extra protection to the listed ecological communities and more resources are allocated to help protect these communities. The extra protection given to the species living in this ecological community ensures that multiplication of these species. The policies also help to ensure appropriate land use practices which help in preventing environmental degradation. However, despite the achievements of these policies in helping to protect biodiversity and ecological communities in Australia the policies have not completely achieved the goals and objectives which they were created to fulfill. Despite the policies in legislation, many of the countries wetlands have experienced interference from human beings and hence destroying the natural environment. The marine ecology has also come under increased threat due to pollution of the sea and other activities in the sea which have led to the destruction of sea creatures.

Conclusion

From the report, it is evident that improvements need to be done on the policies already in place in order to help protect the biodiversity. The following are the recommendations to help protect biodiversity in Australia.

The bio banking scheme should be expanded to help include more farmers in this scheme. This will help to ensure the preservation of biodiversity in the country.

The government should also devolve the biodiversity protection effort in order to ensure the protection effort happen from the grassroots level.

People should be educated and trained more on the importance of conserving biodiversity and protecting the environment.

The report has analyzed the policies and legislation that have been put in place in order to protect the biodiversity. The major legislation protecting the environment in Australia is the EPBC Act of 1999. The aims and objectives of the policies and the policy review are clearly stated in the report. The report will help the ministry of environment to develop policies that will help to improve the protection of the biodiversity and the environment in Australia.

References

Australian biological resources study (abrs). (2010). Focusing on the landscape. Biodiversity in australias? national reserve system. Canberra, abrs.

Ansell, d., gibson, f., & salt, d. (2016). Learning from agri-environment schemes in australia: Investing in biodiversity and other ecosystem services on farms. Http://proxy.cm.umoncton.ca/login?Url=https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctt1d10hdp.

Armiero, m., & sedrez, l. (2014). A history of environmentalism: Local struggles, global histories. Http://site.ebrary.com/id/10868232.

Biodiversity news. (2012). Biodiversity, 13(2), pp.127-131.

Breeden, s., & breeden, k. (2011). Wildflower country: Discovering biodiversity in australia's southwest. Fremantle, w.a., fremantle press.

Julien, m. H., mcfadyen, r. E., & cullen, j. M. (2012). Biological control of weeds in australia. Collingwood, vic, csiro publishing. Http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?P=871257

Bradstock, r. A., williams, r. J., & gill, a. M. (2012). Flammable australia: Fire regimes, biodiversity and ecosystems in a changing world. Collingwood, vic, csiro publishing.

Lindenmayer, d., & gibbons, p. (2012). Biodiversity monitoring in australia. Collingwood, vic, csiro publishing.

Lindenmayer, d., burns, e., thurgate, n., & lowe, a. (2013). Biodiversity and environmental change: Monitoring, challenges and direction. Http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?P=1605162.

Macdonald, d. W., & willis, k. J. (2013). Key topics in conservation biology 2. Http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?P=1124631.

Schoonjans, r. And luttik, r. (2014). Editorial: Specifying biodiversity-related protection goals for environmental risk assessment. Efsa journal, 12(6), p.e14062.

Steffen, w. (2010). Australia's biodiversity and climate change. Melbourne, csiro publishing.

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