Climate change and NRM planning – developing a practical approach

Integrating climate range considerations into natural resource management planning is a challenging, but fascinating endeavour. As we face an uncertain future from the predicted impacts of climate change, it’s not hard to be baffled and overwhelmed by complexity!

Over the past few months, Natural Decisions, in partnership with Spatial Vision, has been assisting seven of the Victorian Catchment Management Authorities to undertake a climate change vulnerability assessment of priority regional assets.

In doing so we have developed a novel, pragmatic and readily transferable approach for use by NRM bodies with their climate related planning and prioritisation activities.

The process combines spatial data and models, scientific understanding and expert local knowledge to identify which assets – under a range of scenarios (climate models) and time frames, are likely to be most vulnerable to climate change. This information is then able to be readily integrated into decision frameworks and existing tools to assist with the planning, prioritisation and implementation of activities that aim to increase the adaptive capacity of high value assets.

Providing strategic advice has been an Expert Panel – Ted Lefroy (University of Tasmania), Roger Jones (Victoria University), Allan Curtis (Charles Sturt University) and Jim Shovelton (Mike Stephens and Associates). Their expertise across a range of disciplines, including biophysical sciences, socio-economics and land management planning, has added enormous value and rigour to the project.

The project has been funded by the Australian Government’s Regional Natural Resource Planning for Climate Change Fund (NRM Fund). This fund supports regional NRM organisations to incorporate climate change mitigation and adaptation information and approaches into regional NRM plans. The key outputs of the project involve a climate change impact and vulnerability assessment and a decision support framework and process. These will be utilised by the Victorian CMAs in the development of a Regional NRM and Agricultural Land Use Plans for Climate Change. It is anticipated these Plans will form sub-strategies supporting each CMA’s Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS).

If you would like to learn more about the approach we have developed, contact Geoff Park at Natural Decisions


Future climate change will impact on a range of natural systems.


Posted 28 May 2014 in News