Prioritisation of all issues raised at subregional level was undertaken by assessing them according to:
- severity of impact (on a specified value)
- future risk, and
- stakeholder consensus (agreement on impacts of the issue).
This enabled issues to be assigned a high, medium or low priority within each subregion, also broadly comparable across subregions. While some issues are a lower priority at a subregional level (because their impact is minimal or highly localised, or they need more investigation) they may still be considered a priority for some stakeholders, depending on their areas of interest.
Some natural resources management (NRM) issues (such as threatened species decline) were excluded from the prioritisation where a landscape-scale assessment was not appropriate. Prioritisation of threatened species to guide recovery efforts requires a species-level assessment of threats and needs, which was outside the scope of the Regional Action Plan.
The priority rating of issues guided which issues were discussed in greatest detail with stakeholders at the Regional Action Planning workshops.
Actions needed to address priority NRM issues
Actions needed to address priority NRM issues in each subregion were identified with NRM partners through facilitated discussions focused on high and medium priority issues, and were structured around the following questions:
- What are the causes of the issue?
- What are our objectives in relation to the issue? (i.e. to prevent, reduce, manage or adapt to impacts?)
- What are the main barriers hindering our ability to address this issue? (in many cases, related to the cause)
- How will climate change affect this issue, and might our actions (and goals) need to change?
- Are there opportunities arising? (and are there ‘win-win’ situations?)
- Who is active in this space? And who are potential delivery partners?
- What actions are required to address this issue?
These questions prompted group discussions and a better understanding of the social and ecological context in which NRM issues occur. This enabled participants to develop actions which were, in many cases, tailored to the subregions where they are needed.
- direct on-ground actions to reduce or manage impacts
- awareness raising
- landholder support (training or financial incentives)
- policy/regulation changes
- activities aimed at assisting adaptation
- no action (amongst other types of actions)