Atlas of Victorian Wildlife & avifauna

Subject: Atlas of Victorian Wildlife & avifauna
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 09:46:41 +1000
A few thoughts for list members regarding the Atlas of Victorian Wildlife 
(AVW) fauna database, mainly for those visiting or residing in Victoria.

There may be a lack of appreciation amongst some birdos of the AVW and the 
important role it plays in the management of threatened species and 
ecological communities in Victoria.

Many naturalists of all types (vertebrate, invertebrate, marine species, 
etc) forward their records to the AVW, as all fauna can be recorded in the 
system.  Importantly alot of additional observer detail can also be 
recorded (e.g. the numbers of a species, habitat information, area covered 
in count and other useful data can be sent in (as opposed to just the 
presence/absence of a species). This more detailed data makes the database 
 much more useful to potential users. It is worth noting that consultants, 
private citizens and government officers working on environmental matters 
find the extra detail very much more useful than just presence/absence 
alone provides.  Indeed the AVW receives many inquiries each week 
requesting detailed information for sites across Victoria (including off 
shore areas) and detailed lists of records for various species.

The Atlas has also made an effort to record all fauna reported in 
historical journals, textbooks and field studies since European 
settlement.  This means some idea of historical ranges of species (e.g. 
increases or decreases in range) can be gleaned by analysing AVW data over 
various time frames etc.  Indeed, many Victorian fauna (mammals, birds, 
reptiles, fish, etc) listed as threatened species under the Flora and 
Fauna Guarantee Act were nominated for listing using data from the atlas.

The current managers of the AVW have provided me with the following 
detailed response to suggestions that the AVW is '...out of date'

"The statewide repository of fauna data, the Atlas of Victorian Wildlife, 
is updated as soon as records are submitted to us. After new records are 
added we then review the data (ideally every 3 months) and approve records 
for wider distribution. The review of data can take us several months 
depending on resources. Currently, we are very under resourced and 
unfortunately this translates into delays for reviewing and approving new 
data for publication.

The method in which we distribute data is either via the Viridans public 
display systems such as the Victorian Fauna Display (VFD) CD Rom or as 
spatial layers for incorporation into a Geographic Information System. 
Whether you use the Viridans systems or spatial data the records published 
in the datasets are updated at the same time so they are consistent. This 
historically has occurred annually because of the time it takes to 
complete the update.

In 2005 we initiated a project to improve our technical processes to speed 
up the time it takes us to update the spatial layers (and therefore when 
we can provide updated data for viewing with the Viridans products). The 
intention was to reduce the time it took to release new data from 12 
months down to a more practical 3 months or even faster for priority 
records that can be reviewed on a fast track basis. Unfortunately this 
project has been delayed by many months owing to a recent reduction in 
staff numbers and, as a result, no update has happened since it commenced, 
causing the gap between old and new approved data to lengthen to two 

We appreciate that this is not ideal but we are nearing the end of our 
project to improve our services and will soon be releasing updated data. 
If you would like to be added to a mailing list to be notified when the 
data is available please email  to register."

I strongly encourage all birdos to send their observations into the AVW 
(or preferred database) so we have the best available information to 
better manage our native avifauna and their habitats.  The AVW has various 
recording methods available to interested people (use the above address to 
contact them).

If you send data to the atlas you receive acknowledgment of your data and 
have access to the system as a registered data collector.

Note also that the AVW has a data exchange agreement with Birds Australia, 
so each system has access to the others data.

The AVW is your database.  It's only as good as the data that people 
forward to it.

Observers records, no matter how small, can make a difference to the 
conservation of our flora and fauna.  We can all make a difference if as 
many people as possible support these flora and fauna databases.

(happy to discuss)

Martin O'Brien
Threatened Species & Communities Section
Department of Sustainability and Environment
2/8 Nicholson St. (PO Box 500), East Melbourne  3002

Tel: 9637 9869
(prefixes: Interstate 03 International 613)

To unsubscribe from this mailing list, 
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU