What is the systems approach?
The systems approach is a way of mapping out all the factors influencing a particular issue and the relationships between them, so that issues can be seen as part of an overall system rather than in isolation.
Systems diagrams provide a visual representation. At the core of systems thinking is the concept of feedback, the idea that changing one factor will often affect one or more of the other factors within the system.
It is therefore particularly useful in helping anticipate the possible consequences of interventions aimed at a specific factor or factors.
Prioritising Assets – The Systems Approach
For the purposes of the Regional NRM strategy, NRM assets are defined as any part of a local environment that is valued by the community. It includes natural assets such as species, ecosystems or landscapes, cultural assets such as buildings and significant places, and intangible assets such as community awareness.
The existing strategy utilises an asset-based approach to prioritise NRM management actions within the region.
The asset-based approach has been used by most regional NRM bodies across Australia to identify those assets that should be prioritised for intervention. This approach primarily focuses on biophysical aspects, whereas the systems-based approach is more holistic and incorporates socio-economic and political factors into the prioritisation process.
SWCC decided to implement the systems-based approach in consultation with its regional partners in the update of the regional NRM strategy and set up the underlying consultation framework to provide the necessary community input. This incorporated a more in-depth consultation with, and involvement of, community members than the asset-based approach.
The results of this consultation require further analysis. This website will continue to be updated over the following months with a final strategy document scheduled for release later this year. Changing Climate Community consultation information that has been obtained from the workshops, using the systems approach and will be incorporated into this website.
Regional State and Transition Models
What is a State and Transition (STM) model?
A state and transition model is a diagram that depicts our current understanding of the dynamics of an ecological site. They identify the plant associations or “states” that may exist on a given ecological site and how other site characteristics, such as hydrology and soil stability might change them. STM’s describe the environmental conditions, disturbances and management actions that cause vegetation to change from one group of plant species to a different set of species, and the management actions needed to restore plant communities to a desired composition. They help identify where land is currently (its present state) and what potential alternative states it could inhabit, and provide ideas about how about how to move to a more desirable state and avoid unwanted transitions.
Transitions describe the biotic and abiotic variables or events that contribute directly to loss of state resilience and results in shifts between states. A transition can be triggered by natural events (e.g. climate events or fire), management actions (e.g. grazing, burning, fire suppression, recreational use) or both.
Whereas transitions describe the drivers and mechanisms of shifts between states, the term “threholds” indicates a set of conditions separating two states where conditions are sufficient to modify ecosystem structure and function beyond the limits of ecological resistance or resilience results in the formation of alternative states. Changes that warrant the use of intensive management practices and restoration technologies to return to the previous state are considered to be transitions.
For each of the regional theme areas, state and transition models have been developed. They are currently in draft form, the members of the Regional Coordinators Team have provided some feedback and further consultation is planned.
Click below to view each of them in a new window where they can then be enlarged.