The Port Phillip and Western Port region has around 500,000 ha of native vegetation which is approximately 39% of the area. The vegetation exists in more than 33,000 individual patches.
This Regional Catchment Strategy assesses the extent and quality of:
• patches of Permanent Native Vegetation; and
• the Other Native Vegetation in each Council area.
‘Other Native Vegetation’ is defined by this strategy as native vegetation outside the patches of ‘Permanent Native Vegetation’.
Other Native Vegetation is widespread across the region’s landscapes. It occurs in thousands of patches of widely variable quality, ownership and management. The majority of Other Native Vegetation patches are small but its wide distribution makes it crucial to environmental health and resilience at local and regional scales.
Weed invasion, diminished regeneration, loss of understorey and low species diversity are common pressures towards decline. Most of the region's ‘Other Native Vegetation’ is not reserved or protected from possible clearing. Applications to clear are managed under the Victorian Government’s Native Vegetation Permitted Clearing Regulations.
Targets are the most important part of this strategy. They describe what we aim to achieve, by when and the parameters we will use to monitor and report. Targets have been set for:
'Permanent Native Vegetation' comprises patches making significant contributions to the region’s ecological health and resilience and for which agencies or Councils are committed to keeping as native vegetation permanently.
The table below includes a summary of the current condition of the patches of Permanent Native Vegetation identified across the region. Each of these patches is mapped and has a tailored, specific, measurable and realistic target assigned to it. The targets aim to at least maintain the extent of the native vegetation in these patches.
For the full list of patches and targets, click here.
‘Other Native Vegetation’ is defined by this strategy as native vegetation outside the ‘Permanent Native Vegetation’ patches. Other Native Vegetation is widespread in thousands of patches across the region’s landscapes. Patches vary widely in size, quality, ownership and management. The wide distribution of Other Native Vegetation makes it crucial to environmental health and resilience at local and regional scales.
Most of the region's ‘Other Native Vegetation’ is not reserved or protected from possible clearing. Applications to clear are managed under the Victorian Government’s Native Vegetation Permitted Clearing Regulations.
Conserving ‘Other Native Vegetation’ is important to this strategy because it holds remnant habitat values and contributes buffers and corridors between larger, better-quality patches. The targets in this strategy reflect the aim of the Native Vegetation Permitted Clearing Regulations. The regulations aim to achieve no net loss in the overall biodiversity value of Victoria’s native vegetation by creating new or improved vegetation on selected sites to compensate for permitted clearing.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) provides support where clearing proposals involve vegetation of high conservation significance. Councils are primarily responsible for implementing the Native Vegetation Permitted Clearing Regulations. Accordingly, DELWP has proposed and Councils have determined the ‘Other Native Vegetation’ targets below which seek to ensure there is no net loss in the quantity/quality of native vegetation whenever ‘Other Native Vegetation’ is cleared.
Potential Nature Links are parts of the landscape considered to offer major, realistic and valuable opportunities for creating large-scale vegetation corridors and improving landscape connectivity.
Nature Links would generate north-south and east-west connections between existing habitat, enabling species transit and improving ecosystem resilience to climate change and habitat fragmentation.
The Potential Nature Links do not have precise boundaries or specific targets. They are identified where there is strong potential for revegetation and other activities to improve large-scale connectivity between and around existing vegetation.
It is proposed a relatively small number of major Potential Nature Links will be identified in this strategy so there is a focus on these links as priorities from a regional perspective.
The potential Nature Links are:
Lead organisations are committed to achieving these targets (Leadership) and arrangements are in place to monitor and report on progress and success (Monitoring & Reporting). Targets and leadership arrangements are determined in consultation with relevant departments, agencies and delegated land managers. Native vegetation condition has been assessed (Method & Condition).