What is the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas and why should we use it?
Posted on 16 January, 2020 by Ivan
We often get questions from the community and land owners asking about the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (VBA) and why it is important. We also get questions about where people should add their surveys, and sightings of flora and fauna, to ensure government agencies can access and consider the records. The VBA uses consistent data standards in recording species observations and conservation efforts, and contains over seven million records across the state of Victoria.
The VBA is the web-based information system designed to manage information about native and naturalised species occurring in Victoria. The system includes species attribute information, including origin and conservation status, along with more than six million records of species distribution and abundance. All published records have been through the verification process including review by a panel of Victorian experts. The VBA includes data submitted to Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) from external sources as well as the Department’s own data collections from systematic surveys and general observations. The VBA replaces several legacy systems, including the Victorian Flora Site Database, Atlas of Victorian Wildlife, Aquatic Fauna Database and Victorian Rare or Threatened Plant Population monitoring (VROTPop) systems.
Connecting Country enters the data from our monitoring program onto the VBA. With amazing volunteer helpers, we are currently entering all historical data from our surveys and observations. This will assist the government agencies in planning and reporting on biodiversity outcomes. We hope it will result in better planning and management outcomes for biodiversity. The data from the VBA feeds into the Atlas of Living Australia, but not vice-versa, so Connecting Country recommend that all flora and fauna data is entered onto VBA first and foremost, as it will also be added to the Atlas of Living Australia. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post about the Atlas of Living Australia.
Here is a summary of how the VBA works from the DELWP website, including how users can register to enter data and contribute to statewide biodiversity planning. Click on the links for further information.
What is the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas?
The VBA species observations are a foundation dataset that feeds into some of the many biodiversity tools used in DELWP’s everyday decision making – showing where wildlife is now and how this has changed over time. This makes it a core input to the majority of the governments processes and programs that impact native species.
It is used in conservation status assessments, Habitat Distribution Models (HDMs) that feed into the Strategic Management Prospects and Native Vegetation Removal Regulations and into our public land management, research activities and State of the Environment reporting.
You can use the atlas to search and map species from across the state, check for threatened species in your area. Also, by sharing your observations in the VBA format you can help us measure the progress to meeting the Biodiversity 2037 targets.
Adding your records to the VBA is your main way to influence a range of government investment, regulation and management decisions.
The VBA includes a dynamic list of all species found in Victoria and provides information including conservation status. Currently there are more than seven million records of species distribution and abundance collated from many different data providers.
We have also released a mobile, simplified version for recording your general observations called VBA Go. Click on the link for more details, videos and help guides to get you started.
For more information on the VBA, please click here.