Planning Principles

The Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country has been developed in accordance with 2 sets of principles.

1. Queensland NRM Planning Guidelines

This Guideline was developed in Queensland and contains principles to inform best practice NRM planning throughout the state.

The 4 key principles are:

  1. The plan supports and promotes collaboration between community, government, industry and other stakeholders.
  2. An adaptive planning process is used to develop and implement the plan and its regular reviews.
  3. The plan is action-oriented, describing a collective regional vision and clear pathways to implementation.
  4. The planning process uses the best available scientific, local, traditional and cultural knowledge.

To see the full Qld NRM Planning Guidelines Click Here.

2. Australian Government NRM Planning Principles

This set of principles was developed in support of the NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund. Delivering on these principles was part of Terrain's contract with the Australian Government, who funded the development of the current plan.

Principle

Attributes

Demonstrating Terrain's Success

1. Plans identify priority landscapes for carbon plantings and strategies to build landscape integrity and guide adaptation and mitigation actions to address climate change impacts on natural ecosystems

a) Planning processes identify opportunities and management strategies to maximise environmental benefits and landscape resilience, including biodiverse plantings, wildlife corridors, landscape connectivity and protection of remnant vegetation

The Planning Process undertaken to identify priorities for action in the Wet Tropics region purposefully injected climate knowledge as a key component of the discussion. As a key component of the 6 technical workshops (biodiversity, water X 2, sustainable industries, coastal systems and biosecurity), Stream 2 scientists presented the latest information on likely climate impacts and mitigation and adaptation opportunities to the participants, with specific focus on the topic of interest.  A participatory workshop session followed that enabled participants to identify the challenges, opportunities and strategies with specific reference to projected climate impacts. 

The result of this session fed directly into the identification of priorities for the plan. These priorities can be found in “Plan Priorities”. Many of these priorities related to working smarter, ensuring climate factors are taken into account in all aspects of planning across multiple agencies/sectors and building greater awareness within the community about the values of the Wet Tropics, the likely impacts of threats including climate change on these values, and the livelihoods and lifestyles that people in this region rely on and value.

More spatially specific decision support tools have also been created through this project.  This includes mapping the future climate spaces for all vertebrate species of the Wet Tropics at the scale of 250 metres. This ground breaking work has been combined with other spatial information (including carbon sequestration potential, existing vegetation and land use, infrastructure etc.) to produce a prioritisation map for landscape connectivity, biodiversity resilience and carbon sequestration.

Specific content within the Plan addressing this attribute sits in two places:

  • The Regional Themes section of the website has relevant pages and sections under both the climate futures, biodiversity and landscape connectivity themes. These areas of the website provide a wealth of information about the likely impacts of climate change on landscape assets and have direct links to scientific information (including reports, presentations, fact sheets) generated through Stream 2.
  • The Mapping Portal has a Carbon & Climate DIY mapping tool specifically focused on identifying the high priority areas in the landscape for carbon plantings, taking into account where multiple benefits (e.g. for biodiversity and landscape connectivity) can be achieved without compromising the carbon sequestration outcome. This mapping function provides this information through interactive spatial products.  Interactive Carbon & Climate Story Maps (being finalised) will also provide more contextual information about these products.

b)  Planning processes recognise, provide guidance  to avoid and mitigate potential risks and adverse impacts associated with carbon sequestration in the landscape, including impacts to biodiversity, water resources and production systems

As mentioned above, spatial products provide guidance about WHERE in the landscape carbon sequestration will deliver multiple benefits, including for biodiversity and landscape connectivity. This is a major advance in ensuring that any investment maximises the opportunities for a more resilient landscape while not compromising the carbon sequestration outcomes.

Specific content within the Plan addressing this attribute sits in the priority investment for carbon page, the climate change and biodiversity prioritisation page and the Carbon & Climate DIY Mapping tool.  Any priority areas for carbon plantings also provide biodiversity and landscape resilience outcomes. The Carbon & Climate Story Maps (being finalised) specify the critical criteria behind carbon plantings, including aspects such as consideration of native species selection, endemism and directs people to resources to support planning of plantings.

c) Planning processes identify priority landscapes for potential carbon sequestration opportunities, mitigation and adaptation in the context of improving landscape connectivity, resilience and wildlife corridors

The process undertaken to identify issues and strategies for the NRM Plan integrated the climate information from Stream 2 at the onset. During the 6 technical workshops (biodiversity, water X 2, sustainable industries, coastal systems and biosecurity), Stream 2 scientists presented the latest information on likely climate impacts and mitigation and adaptation opportunities to the participants.  A specific workshop session then identified the challenges, opportunities and strategies with specific reference to project climate impacts.  The result of this session fed directly into the identification of priorities for the plan. These priorities can be found in “Plan Priorities

More spatially specific decision support tools have also been created through this project.  This includes mapping the future climate spaces for all vertebrate species of the Wet Tropics at the scale of 250 metres. This ground breaking work has been combined with other spatial information (including carbon sequestration potential, existing vegetation and land use, infrastructure etc.) to produce a prioritisation map for landscape connectivity, biodiversity resilience and carbon sequestration.

Additional content addressing this attribute sits in the Regional Themes section of the website. There are relevant pages and sections under both the Climate Futures and Biodiversity Themes.

2. Planning process is logical, comprehensive, and transparent

a) Planning processes consider previous planning and are consistent with relevant jurisdiction specific planning requirements

Queensland does not have specific requirements for an NRM Plan, but there is a guideline for best practice that has been used in designing the planning process.

A foundational principle of the planning process was that this plan not replicate or contradict any existing plans. Therefore, a key part of the initial planning process was to review all relevant plans, policies and other key documents.  From this review, an initial synopsis of the key issues, challenges, opportunities and strategies was compiled. Divided into key themes, this synopsis was then the basis for technical workshops with key stakeholders, experts and policy makers. The workshops built on this summary, identifying further challenges and opportunities with regard to climate change, and then taking all the information and identifying priority actions.

The Resource Library of the Plan, and the “Plan Partners" function provide ‘visitors’ to the plan with information about all relevant plans, policies and other key documents for a particular local area or topic.  This one-stop-shop for all relevant plans and policies enables a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that they are taking all previous and current planning into consideration in their decision making processes.

b) Planning process are informed by a clear understanding of the regional stakeholder and community aspirations and objectives

Terrain undertook an extensive and comprehensive engagement process in the development of the plan, based on a foundation of many years of working closely with the NRM community of the Wet Tropics. Terrain’s engagement process was in three stages:

  1. An extensive and comprehensive general information gathering stage aimed at identifying what stakeholders value about the landscape, and what concerns they have about its future. This enabled Terrain to determine the main aspirations and issues in the region. This early engagement deliberately targeted questions about vision, aspirations and objectives to get a good picture of the community’s perspectives on NRM.
  2. 10 Local landscape workshops were then held to further investigate the community objectives and the priority actions that local community stakeholders would like to see happen in their local landscapes.
  3. Six technical workshops were held around specific NRM topics, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders including government, community groups, local council, scientists and industry.
  • Follow up meetings were held with key stakeholders to further flesh out the priority actions.
  • Additional specific engagement was held with Traditional Owners, local councils and industry bodies.

c) Planning processes demonstrate a clear understanding of the regional bodies’ business, roles and responsibilities

Terrain’s role in ongoing Regional NRM Planning has been integrated into Terrain’s Organisational Strategic Plan and Program Logic. This provides a very clear understanding of Terrains ongoing role as custodian of the Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country.  However, it is clear that this is a plan for the region, and there are many stakeholders who have an interest in it, and a role in implementing its priorities.

d) Planning processes show evidence of cooperation for cross-regional climate change impacts and land use planning

There has been strong collaboration between the regions of the Stream 2 Wet Tropics Cluster, with regular meetings, active sharing of information and learnings. In addition, Terrain has been an active and productive member of the Queensland State Planners Network, ensuring maximum sharing of information and experience across the state.

e) Adaptive planning responds to new information and guide improvements as knowledge improves

This attribute is one of the key reasons why this plan has been built as a website. It enables Terrain to easily update the plan with new knowledge. The Plan itself integrates the function of a knowledge portal, ensuring that new knowledge and science is made readily available to users, informing decision making and management. A key principle of the plan is that it is adaptive, not only in the knowledge that it contains but also in the ability to update priorities as new issues arise or priorities emerge.

f) Planning processes use information at an appropriate scale to spatially identify priority areas in the landscape for carbon sequestration projects and environmental co-benefits

The plan uses the best available information and research, which is presented on the priority investment for carbon page and the climate change and biodiversity prioritisation page. The scale that has been used is largely dependent on the spatial data that is currently available. Ongoing refinement of the spatial prioritisation tools will make use of new data as it becomes available.

g) Planning processes demonstrate adaptive planning that responds to current and anticipated climate change research and additional information

This attribute is one of the key reasons why this plan has been built as a website. It enables Terrain to easily update the plan with new knowledge, in particular with relation to climate change and adaptation opportunities. The Plan itself integrates the function of a knowledge portal, ensuring that new knowledge and science is made readily available to users, informing decision making and management. A key principle of the plan is that it is adaptive, not only in the knowledge that it contains but also in the ability to update priorities as new issues arise or priorities emerge.

3. Plans use best available information to develop actions and are based on collaboration with government, community and other stakeholders

a) Plans demonstrate strategic alignment with relevant state and Commonwealth NRM policies (such as urban and regional planning, matters of National Environmental Significance, National Water Initiatives and the National Wildlife Corridors Plan)

As key supporting documents, relevant State and Commonwealth plans and policies have been taken into account when preparing regional strategies and priorities. They are also included in our resource library.

A foundational principle of the planning process was that this plan not replicate or contradict any existing plans and that there be strong alignment with NRM Plans and policies. Therefore, a key part of the initial planning process was to review all relevant plans, policies and other key documents.  From this review, an initial synopsis of the key issues, challenges, opportunities and strategies was compiled. Divided into key themes, this synopsis was then the basis for technical workshops with key stakeholders, experts and policy makers. The workshops built on this summary, identifying further challenges and opportunities with regard to climate change, and then taking all the information and identifying priority actions.

The Resource Library of the Plan, and the “Plan Partners” function provide ‘visitors’ to the plan with information about all relevant plans, policies and other key documents for a particular local area or topic.  This one-stop-shop for all relevant plans and policies enables a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that they are taking all previous and current planning into consideration in their decision making processes.

b) Plans meaningfully engage community and stakeholders

There has been a broad base of engagement that has been ongoing since the beginning this project – the team has engaged with about 1,500 participants through a range of mechanisms. In particular, the 10 local landscape workshops across the region ensured maximum community participation in the process of prioritisation and the development of strategies/projects for action. A detailed explanation of the planning process and the manner in which it engaged a wide range of people through many different mechanisms is provided in the Planning Process component of the Plan.

c) Where relevant, plans identify and agree roles and responsibilities for partners in the region

The priority actions included in our plan have a 1 page description that includes next steps and feasibility considerations. This provides the opportunity to identify roles and responsibilities where relevant.

d) Plans integrate biophysical, socio-economic and climate change information to fine tune strategies for improving landscape connectivity, function and resilience

The plan uses the best available information and research, which is presented on the priority investment for carbon page and the climate change and biodiversity prioritisation page. Both the technical and local landscape workshops were structured and focused to ensure that climate, community and physical factors were taken into account when formulating the plan priorities.

Last updated 30/05/16 12:24 pm