Values Based Park Management Framework
A transparent and adaptive approach to meeting NPSRs park planning and management accountabilities.
Adaptive management builds upon current management practices to improve our management.
- Planning and prioritisation sets and prioritises strategic directions and objectives based on park value.
- Monitoring provides information on the condition and trend of values and measures our progress towards goals and objectives.
- Evaluating and reporting on our performance helps us understand if we are managing parks effectively.
If we are not meeting our goals, this becomes the catalyst to change how we are managing that aspect of the park.
Adaptive management for QPWS
Adaptive management is the process of adjusting and improving how we manage parks after assessing the success of previous strategies and on-ground actions. The concept of adaptive management is widely accepted and applied internationally. Governments, funding bodies and the public are increasingly demanding accountability in park management. While there is still much emphasis on outputs, the need to demonstrate effective outcomes is growing and we welcome this.
QPWS manages complex systems—they are hard to predict, vary across the state, and our management can have unexpected results. The only way to manage such complex systems in an accountable and effective manner is by applying a systematic approach to adaptive management.
We recognise that we start from (and will always have) imperfect knowledge. By setting strategic objectives based on our best understanding of the context and testing (by monitoring and evaluation) to see whether the actions/interventions we impose are effective in achieving those objectives – we build understanding of the parks we manage and improve our management and its outcomes over time.
Our main goal is to continually improve the management of our parks. Every park has different values, management needs and priorities. Identifying the needs (objectives) for each park; setting realistic and measurable goals and evaluating our performance will be the key to adopting an adaptive management approach.
We then determine:
- condition of key park values
- how much we have to invest, and
- what the priorities are.
This informs the planning and prioritisation process – to set and prioritise management objectives which are clear, measurable, and will maintain or improve the condition of key values.
The next step is monitoring the condition of our parks and evaluating our progress towards achieving our management goals. Finally, we ensure we are transparent and accountable by reporting on the state of our parks and outcomes of our management–in a way that is meaningful and allows us to learn from experience and keep improving how we manage our parks.
QPWS has a range of systems to store corporate data sets around themes such as Fire, Pest, Assets, Permits and Planning. These systems underpin the Values Based Park Management Framework across all stages and the data captured is used to support decision-making.
- Establish consistent data capture protocols
- Drive standards
- Track project development and approvals
- Provide data analysis and outputs reporting.
Planning for great management
Planning focuses on park values and provides a strategic approach to management. A values-based approach to park planning starts with an assessment of the park’s values and the Levels of Service (LoS) required to manage these values effectively. Prioritised measurable objectives are set during this process and provide the basis on which we evaluate our performance.
Monitoring our progress
Monitoring is the systematic collection and evaluation over time of relevant, reliable data and information on the condition and trend of park values. The outcomes of on-ground actions targeted at achieving the desired condition of key values and desired LoS standards are monitored and reviewed in various ways to help inform future management.
Values that require monitoring will usually be determined through the planning process.
Reporting and sharing monitoring information is critical to informing our decision-making and improving on-ground management. Evaluation and reporting must be timely, involve and be easily accessed by, park managers. Monitoring information feeds into an evaluation process that will support high level reporting on the state of our parks.
Evaluating and reporting on our performance
Evaluating and analysing how we are performing helps us to understand how effectively we are managing parks and how to adapt and improve in future. We can test whether objectives set during the planning process have been achieved, by using information gathered through monitoring. Evaluating and reporting on performance shows QPWS is using public resources efficiently, prioritising activities which protect park values, and always trying to improve our management. We are also able to evaluate what we have done against budget expenditure to help to determine costs of managing parks.
QPWS has adopted an internationally recognised park review process, to evaluate how effectively we manage parks and adapt over time to improve how we manage them. Park-level data and state-wide performance measures are collated into the park information set, which forms the basis of QPWS’s park review.
The park review is the main tool for evaluating how we are performing. The evaluation brings together a range of data (including systems information and results of a park manager survey) to evaluate QPWS’s management effectiveness at all stages of the management cycle.
The park review also contributes to transparent and accountable reporting (i.e. Queensland State of the Parks Report), as well as informing reviews of the state level planning (i.e. QPWS master plan targets).
The performance evaluation and reporting process has four main stages
The park review information set including health check data and operational systems information is used to conduct the park review. This happens annually for iconic parks and five yearly for all other parks.
State-wide Service Delivery Standards (SDS) are measured annually along with the annual tracking of the Master plan targets. This information then provides data for the 5 yearly QSOP Report.
Information from reports is analysed to inform the next planning cycle. The Master plan targets are revised five yearly.
4. Plan and implement
Park management activities are implemented based on the revised Master plan targets and the analysis of information from reports.
Queensland State of the Parks (QSOP) Report
The first QSOP will be available in 2018 and is a report card on how well Queensland’s parks are managed. QSOP is based on the outcomes of the evaluation and reports on:
- how QPWS is protecting key park values and achieving management goals
- the condition and trend of key values in all iconic parks, plus a selection of parks which represent Queensland’s bioregions and biodiversity
- how our state-wide parks system is faring, including threats to key values, other pressures on parks, management efforts and levels of service.
For more information on the Values Based Park Management Framework contact QPWS Planning Services email ParkManagementPlans@npsr.qld.gov.au.