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Information and management needs of landholders with threatened ecological communities in the central wheatbelt of south-west Western Australia: Final report 1999

Renton, S. and Moore, S.A. (1999) Information and management needs of landholders with threatened ecological communities in the central wheatbelt of south-west Western Australia: Final report 1999. Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia.

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This report details the results of Murdoch University's involvement in the Conserving Threatened Ecological Communities in Agricultural Areas project, coordinated by the WA Threatened Species and Communities Unit and funded by the Natural Heritage Trust. Included are the methods, results, discussion and management implications from a study of the information and management needs of landholders with remnant vegetation or threatened ecological communities on properties in the central wheatbelt. An outline of support activities during 1999 is also included. Two groups of landholders were surveyed in 1998 and 1999: landholders with threatened ecological communities (TECs) and a 'control' group of landholders geographically proximate with remnant vegetation (non-TECs). A total of 27 landholders completed a questionnaire and 26 a follow-up personal interview.

The results indicated that remnant vegetation, including TECs, was valued by the majority of landholders surveyed. The most common reason was the remnant's ecological significance, followed by its aesthetic values and contribution to farming functions. In managing their TEC or remnant vegetation, landholder's most common activities included standard farming practices such as fencing, feral animal and weed control, and fire management.

In terms of sources of information, respondents showed a strong preference for information gained through personal experience or from talking with other people. For most landholders, the local community landcare coordinator was an important source. TEC more than non-TEC landholders sought information from CALM, private consultants, CSIRO and local naturalists clubs. Information needs ranged from technical information such as planting sites, contour maps and fencing distances, to more abstract ecological concerns such as landscape ecology and biodiversity. Hydrological information was of great interest to TEC landholders.

Information was also gained on landholder's ecological awareness and understanding, as well as how they gained such knowledge. Most TEC landholders showed a greater understanding of biodiversity than non-TEC landholders, while only a small number (less than half) of all respondents, when questioned, mentioned broader ecological issues such as salinity. The most common methods of learning were observations over time and experimenting or trial-and-error.

Item Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Murdoch University
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