The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) has just released its investigation into how well the state’s biodiversity is managed and protected. The report is rather critical of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s performance in this regard. It found that, among a range of issues, the department cannot demonstrate if, or how well, it is halting further decline in Victoria’s threatened species populations.
It found the data used to model and identify cost-effective protection actions is old, likely outdated, and has some critical gaps. This raises questions about the reliability of the modelled outputs and the decisions they support.
The report includes feral deer as a case study. It states that deer pose a significant risk to biodiversity by reducing and destroying native vegetation and competing with native wildlife for food sources. It also found that in Victoria, 1080 flora and fauna species would benefit from better management of feral deer. This is a good example of how landscape-based threat management can help many species.